Seaside holiday: more expensive Turkey, exorbitant resorts of Krasnodar and unavailable Europe

According to preliminary conclusions to the summer season, descendants of Ottoman became undoubted leaders having hit all popularity records, and residents of Tatarstan are already thinking about winter holidays

Seaside holiday: more expensive Turkey, exorbitant resorts of Krasnodar and unavailable Europe Photo: Maksim Platonov

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia drew preliminary conclusions to the summer season. As tour operators and online aggregators of package tours told in general, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Tunisia and Italy were among the top destinations. In addition, the positions of the leader – Turkey – are almost unattainable. It is likely to remain an undoubted leader of this summer. Experts note that the prices this year are quite high, and top destinations were booked 3 months beforehand or earlier, still, for high prices. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

We need the Turkish coast: no discount

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia drew preliminary conclusions to 2/3 of the summer season and created a rating of the most popular destinations among Russian tourists. According to the results of bookings of the majority of tour operators (TUI Russia, NTK Inturist, Coral Travel), Turkey ranks first. The volume of sales to this destination has grown several times in comparison with 2016. It should be noted last year the summer in Turkey did not have Russians due to the relations between the countries, flights to the country began in the autumn. Then Turks offered incredibly low prices to return the Russians' trust. This year the cold summer in Russia helped Turkey's growth. The cold summer repulsed our compatriots from local resorts together with too high prices.

''In our company, Turkey ranks first and second. Resorts of Krasnodarsky Krai are third,'' President of the Association of Tour Agencies of Tatarstan and Director General of Persona Grata tour agency Ramil Miftakhov confirms.

However, attractive offers to Turkey were in May 2017. And here the hospitality, if we are talking about the prices for tour packages, ended.

''In our company, Turkey ranks first and second. Resorts of Krasnodarsky Krai are third,'' Ramil Miftakhov confirms. Photo: Maksim Platonov

''Now Turkey is expensive. But it is sold very well and it is our absolute leader,'' tells director of Another Dimension tour agency Anvar Mingazov.

If the demand maintains, we should not wait for a fall in prices in September-October. The flight programme to Turkey from Kazan was prepared until the end of October. But judging by the demand, it will be extended.

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia notes that in Turkey the Antalya coast became popular among Russians where cheap Kemer is the leader.

Crimea and Sochi – expensive and uncompetitive

Russian resorts occupy the second position in the top 5 most popular summer destinations of almost all operators. Biblio Globus is an exception. It invested in marketing and promotion of our the South. Sochi and Crimea rank first in the rating of bookings there. The tour operator says the volume of bookings of the country's South has doubled in comparison with last year. 536,374 people were on holiday via Biblio Globus from 1 January to 1 July 2017. This indicator exceeds the results of the analogous period last year by 92%.

''This year Biblio got one big hotel for 3,500 seats. They made it all-inclusive and try to load it. Last year, they sold 120,000 seats, this year – 240,000 because they have financial commitments on this destination,'' Miftakhov explains the popularity of the Russian destination of a specific tour operator.

According to him, prices for the Russian destination have grown by 30% in comparison with last year, air tickets also have become costly: ''Charter flights were performed last year. This year, there are semi-charter flights, semi-regular. The starting price of the flight is 21,000 rubles.''

According to Miftakhov, prices for the Russian destination have grown by 30% in comparison with last year, air tickets also have become costly. Photo: Maksim Platonov

At the same time, director of Another Dimension Anvar Mingazov says they have low sales on Russian destinations.

''We can't say we don't have them at all. People buy them, but too little. Only Crimea, Abkhazia and Krasnodar Krai are among active bookings now. A woman with a kid came yesterday, they have a limited budget. For 79,000 rubles, she can afford low-quality accommodation in Krasnodar Krai in a two-star hotel with breakfast and dinner and have a good all-inclusive hotel in Turkey for the same money. The same thing in Crimea – too high prices and quality, expensive and uncompetitive,'' Mingazov says.

As for early booking performed in June, Crimean pension Zvyozdny 3* for two adults for 11 nights was 78,000 rubles, Anvar Mingazov put an example: ''The South is expensive and doubtful. Turkey is clear, always there is a choice.''

Europe at the level of mathematical error

Turkey and Black Sea resorts are few direct destinations from Kazan in summer. There is the UAE, but it is not for everyone because it is very hot there in summer. Cyprus (visa is obtained online), but the price tag is quite high. And Tunisia. Holiday in other countries needs documents – an exhausting process for many people.

In Coral Travel, Greece is the second popular booking among such countries in summer. The country is fourth in Biblio Globus and sixth in NTK Inturist. Spain has been in the top 5 in Coral Travel (third place) and TUI Russia (fourth position). Rhodes and Crete are among the booking leaders among the resorts.

''There is Greece, Tunisia, Spain, but little. This year the choice of hotels in Greece is not wide – it is either very modest and economic or expensive. It is linked with the ''kitchen'' of tour operators who sign contracts with certain hotels. They have certain relations, hotels require a pre-payment. Somebody can afford it, somebody – can't. There are good relations with somebody or not. When there was Labirint that disappeared, the choice of hotels in Greece was amazing, Southern Cross – as well. Now these operators don't exist. And the choice of those who work in the Greek market is limited and everything is sad,'' Anvar Mingazov says.

''There is Greece, Tunisia, Spain, but little. This year the choice of hotels in Greece is not wide – it is either very modest and economic or expensive,'' Anvar Mingazov says. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Ramil Miftakhov characterises the sale of European destinations as mathematical error in comparison with Turkey.

Bulgaria has been the top 5 of TUI Russia (fifth position) and NTK Inturist (third place). Such resorts as Solnechny Bereg, Nesebr take the lead here.

''Bulgaria is interesting but falls behind Turkey. Tunisia is sold, but rarely in our agency. There were more Tunisia last year, this year there is more UAE,'' Anvar Mingazov says.

Winter 17/18: bet on visa-free Emirates

This year tour operators note the advanced booking rate increased – it made up 3 months or more.

''Advanced booking term is wild. We started to book in advance in February. And I don't remember when everything has been booked by the beginning of the season until September. I don't know why. I can't say the prices were low. Turkey was cheap in May probably to promote sales. But now everything is at the peak of the season as it should be,'' Anvar Mingazov says.

The tourism business expects season Winter 2017/18 to be active. According to Ramil Miftakhov, due to the cancellation of visa, there will be more flights to the UAE. Old carriers will return to the market, and flight programme to Vietnam and China will be extended. But prices are quite high there, there are not alternatives to inexpensive and close Egypt at the moment. The climate in Turkey allows to visit beaches only until November holidays.

By Daria Turtseva