Russians set records for foreign trips

Россияне ставят рекорды по зарубежным поездкам

The FSB border service reported on which countries Russians most often traveled to in 2023. In total, Russians made 27 million trips abroad for all purposes during the year – 17% more than in 2022 (23 million).

Before moving on to trips for tourist purposes only, a few words about the methodology of the FSB statistics – firstly, it takes into account the number of trips, not the number of citizens. Secondly, the border guard service counts boarding passes for direct flights and “does not see” where the person went further from the destination. For example, there are two citizens in the AN-Tourism creative group, and together, according to the FSB, they have five visits to Turkey in 2023, but three of these trips are transfers in Istanbul and Antalya to Italy, Germany and Montenegro. In addition to transit, the FSB methodology does not read other typical situations. For example, there are numerous “everyday” movements across the border back and forth of citizens of countries bordering the Russian Federation who also have a Russian passport, which is shown at the border and goes into the travel statistics of citizens of the Russian Federation.

More relevant data will be obtained if the statistics of the Border Service are correlated with data from foreign countries. Yes, and this technique is not perfect, but it shows trends better. ATOR did such a comparative job, and that’s what they did:

Turkey (6.3 million visits, according to national statistics, including transit through Istanbul, +20% compared to 2022);

UAE (1.7 million visits, FSB Border Service data, including transit, +42.5%);

Thailand (1.48 million visits, according to national statistics, +240.6%);

Abkhazia (1-3 million visits, estimated by the Ministry of Tourism of Abkhazia, +13%);

Egypt (1.28 million, FSB Border Service data, +35.4%);

China (966, 1 thousand trips, data from the FSB Border Service, +420% by 2022);

Maldives (209.1 thousand trips, according to national statistics, +3.6%);

Sri Lanka (197 thousand, according to national statistics, +116.4%);

Cuba (185 thousand, estimated by the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, +240%);

Indonesia (160 thousand, according to national statistics, +115%).

It should be noted that there are no post-Soviet countries in the top of ATOR, although Kazakhstan, Georgia and Armenia entered the overall top of the FSB. But ATOR explains that it is difficult to estimate the number of classic tourists from Russia to these countries, since the vast majority of trips there are not made for tourist purposes (representatives of the diaspora go to relatives, other Russians for private and business purposes).

Another record

The world’s largest art object appeared at the entrance to Stavropol – a huge elephant made in a space-frame technique. The sculpture can be seen from a distance of 20-30 km in clear weather. Height – 18 meters, length – 31 meters, width – 9 meters. But why an elephant? It turns out that it is in Stavropol that the museum-reserve contains two skeletons of an ancient southern elephant more than 2 million years old (there are five of them in the world). That is why the elephant is one of the symbols of the city of Stavropol.

Chinese New Year

On February 9, the Chinese New Year in Moscow festival was officially opened in Kamergersky Lane. This festival launched a series of events within the framework of the “Years of Culture of Russia and China” (2024-2025). The festival will be held until February 18 at venues decorated in traditional Chinese style. More than 300 different events have been prepared for the guests of the festival: master classes, excursions, performances, musical performances and cooking shows. For example, a Chinese food fair awaits visitors in Kamergersky Lane, a tunnel decorated in the style of the Chinese New Year is located on Tverskoy Boulevard, a photo exhibition dedicated to nature and attractions of the People’s Republic of China is located on Novy Arbat, a calligraphy school can be visited on Tverskaya Square and learn the secrets of the tea ceremony.

Festival venues will also appear on the territory of the Moscow Zoo, at the fish market “Moscow on the Wave”, at VDNH.

Fast service at Sochi airport

Famous TV presenter Anfisa Chekhov missed the Aeroflot flight from Sochi to Moscow. But this story is not about this event, but about what amazing facts were revealed as a result of the proceedings in hot pursuit. So, on the morning of February 4, the TV presenter was supposed to fly out of Sochi and was waiting to land in the business lounge. “It was written on the board: “your flight is delayed.” As soon as the sign “go to the landing” appeared, we went,” the presenter wrote on social networks. Anfisa claims that she reached the departure desk in 7 minutes, but was late for the flight.

Calling the incident a mess, the woman bought a new ticket and flew on another flight. The press service of Sochi Airport noticed the publications that appeared on social networks and the media and commented on the conflict: “As a result of an internal investigation, it was established that A. Chekhov’s passenger and one accompanying person took off on flight SU 1153 on February 4. The scheduled departure time is 11:05 a.m., the actual time is 11:20 a.m. The landing began at 10:51 a.m., an announcement was made on the speakerphone at 10:52 a.m., the information on the monitors was updated. 180 passengers waiting at the gates boarded by 10:55 a.m. At 10:56 and 11:00, the latecomers were invited to board over the speakerphone. The boarding was closed at 11:01 a.m. At the same moment, A. Chekhov and her escort left the business hall, and at 11:04 they found themselves near exits 3-4. But the removal of two late passengers was refused by the representative of the airline.”

It should be noted that the airport staff carried out the boarding of 180 passengers in 4 (!) minutes. Although the difference between the actual and planned departure time by 15 minutes in our time is almost on time and the reduction of the standard landing time by five times (4 minutes instead of 20) is surprising. But even more surprising is the advice to passengers: “We recommend arriving at the boarding gates 40 minutes before departure, then the risk of being late will be reduced to zero.”

Of course, we will keep this in mind, but with this attitude, we recommend reducing your departures from Sochi airport to a minimum.

The “Uralians” did not fly

The airline postponed the launch of direct flights from Zhukovsky near Moscow to Baku until February 17. The flight program was supposed to start on February 8, but the lack of permission from the Azerbaijani side prevented it. It turned out at the last moment – after almost all the passengers had already checked in and were waiting to board the plane. The situation also came as a surprise to the Federal Air Transport Agency, which stated that the Russian aviation authorities are in contact with colleagues from Azerbaijan and are trying to resolve the issues that have arisen. However, these flights are now available in the carrier’s booking system only from March 31.

Flights to Baku from Samara were scheduled to start on February 12. At the moment, they have completely disappeared from the airline’s website. At the same time, since January 13, Ural Airlines has been flying to Baku from Yekaterinburg as if nothing had happened.

February 23rd and March 8th

One of the domestic travel planning services told where you can have a budget vacation in the coming official holidays if you fly out of Moscow. On Defender of the Fatherland Day, the most inexpensive route is Pskov. A one-way ticket costs about 4,500 rubles, and a three-star hotel can be booked for 2,500 rubles. It will be cheaper to fly abroad to Minsk: a one-way ticket costs about 8 thousand rubles, and housing is easy to find for 4,600 rubles. But, according to tour operators (provided by ATOR), organized tourists do not chase cheapness and the most popular bookings for dates with the capture of February 23 are standard resorts of the Krasnodar Territory and five-star hotels in the UAE.

According to the domestic travel planning service, the most budget-friendly trip in Russia for the weekend dedicated to March 8 turned out to be a trip to Tambov: a one-way flight will cost about 4,400 rubles, and a hotel in the city – 2,400 rubles. Holidays abroad, with the capture of International Women’s Day, will be the cheapest in Gomel – a flight there costs 4,800 rubles, and a hotel room costs 3,300 rubles per day.

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