Moscow-Kazan turns out second most popular destination on New Year in Russia

Moscow-Kazan turns out second most popular destination on New Year in Russia
Photo: Maksim Platonov

Ticket to Kazan has cheapened by 3%

Moscow-Kazan has turned out to be second in the top 10 most popular New Year routes in Russia, experts of service for trips and travels. They analysed ticket sales for trains registered from 25 December to 10 January. The average ticket to the Tatarstan capital on the winter holidays is 2,637 rubles, compared to last year, it has cheapened by 3%. Moscow-Saint Petersburg is the leader of the list, tickets have become 8% cheaper. Moscow-Petrozavodsk occupies the third place, this year it has lost 18% of its value.

Average tickets for all railway destinations across Russia on the New Year holidays have increased by 2% in general, from 1,636 to 2,679 rubles. Moreover, the specialists found different price dynamics: average tickets in some destinations have become more expensive, others have gone down in price. Tickets from Saint Petersburg to Murmansk (-28%) and from Moscow to Kotlas (-19%) has suddenly cheapened. However, trips from Moscow to Ivanovo (+59%) and Nizhny Novgorod (+26%) have noticeably skyrocketed. The most popular date for a railway trip during New Year’s period is on 30 December, it accounts for almost 12% of bookings. 29 December and 7-8 January have 8-9%, the analysts noted.

Trend for last-minute booking

Realnoe Vremya asked directors of travel agencies if Russians turned to them. Director General of Inteltour Kazan Liliya Savelyeva doesn’t see any activity among tourists in her company, including on the New Year holidays. Moreover, a lot of Russians stick to health workers and Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog’s recommendations to refuse travelling. And if they arrive in Tatarstan, they travel across the republic on their own, their trips have nothing to do with travel agencies, Savelyeva noted.

Extreme lovers from Moscow, Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa arrive in Tatarstan, but according to FesTur’s founder Alexey Yaroslavlev, they total less than 10%. The company mainly organises trips outside the republic, though winter activities in Tatarstan are also planned: they include rafting, one can learn more about the programme on the company’s website.

Tourists were more active in September and October when there was a fall in the coronavirus incidence, while now they are cautious about New Year bookings, noted owner of Helios Travel Alyona Surovtseva in a talk with Realnoe Vremya.

“Kazan was the centre of attraction for New Year after Moscow and Petersburg in the past too. I know from my colleagues and acquaintances that people are going to come here. I think that tourists will come for New Year and the city won’t be empty. Now tourism has ups and downs depending on restrictions or cancellation of bans on certain destinations. Many are waiting for what will happen next now. In any case, there isn’t an influx of calls, the number of cases is growing,” Surovtseva said.

“People used to book our tours beforehand because they understood that they would be more expensive on New Year or there wouldn’t be offers. Now a lot will turn on the epidemiological situation. The restrictions on restaurants influence tourists’ arrival, of course. Somebody hopes for New Year programmes, somebody love to stay very late not only on New Year,” thinks Sales Director of Salavat City Center Rustem Tarzimanov.

He noted that in 2020 they had last-minute orders. Tarzimanov hopes that there will be demand by the holidays and people will start booking at the last moment from 10 December. “Kazan is one such destinations that can attract guests, we will hope that this will happen,” the company’s director said.

As a rule, high demand for Three Banks fishing base’s service on winter holidays appears in November already.

“We have always had early bookings for New Year. And the occupancy rate is good. But people are booking very and very cautiously now. December is usually 50% full by this time, now the rate is just 10%. It is mainly citizens of Moscow and Moscow Oblast,” Director of the base Artyom Zabachek shared with our newspaper.

No big losses are already good

The golden tourist autumn ended, there is a lull in Tatarstan in November. Demand for tourist has fallen by some 70% in 10 months, thinks Alyona Surovtseva, and not only because of the Russians’ fear of getting infected, but people’s solvency has also fallen amid the economic crisis, the growth of the dollar has worsened the situation too. However, we can’t say that the tourism business has stalled completely. Alyona Surovtseva added that neighbours keep visiting Kazan, though not as actively as during the previous years. People have become more interested in camping and hiking. FesTur has an event planned in Kamskoye Ustye. However, if groups of 40-50 people used to be taken there, five people will come soon, said Alexey Yaroslavtsev.

The tourism business has to adapt its format to COVID-19. But countryside recreational camps are at an advantage for this reason. Nowadays Three Banks has a traditionally low season until the water reservoir is covered with ice. May was the only month when the base worked worse than usual, everybody was in tenterhooks then, noted Artyom Zabachek.

“However, we worked hard from June to October. When our outbound tourism was closed, people tried to go to nature. During this period, we and our rivals happened to have a 20% rise compared to the previous years,” said the director of the fishing base.

However, sales have collapsed 2-3 times in the sector in general, noted Rustem Tarzimanov. According to him, when whole life was paralysed in the spring, it seemed we had to just survive the lockdown, be patient a bit: there was hope that the situation would improve by winter when a vaccine would appear.

“Now the situation is certainly better, at least because there is no total lockdown. August-October were good for the tourism business. On the other hand, there is an understanding this will stay for long, so long that we don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. The hope is starting to melt, and the tourism market is starting to find it tough, a lot of companies have closed and will close. Now it is such a period that we have to go through without making losses. If the company doesn’t have big losses, it is already good,” the head of Salavat City Center claimed.
By Yekaterina Ablayeva