The number of Chinese tourists having visited Russia in the first months of 2016 is up more than 60% from the same period last year, according to Rostourism chief Oleg Safonov, who cited the figures at a meeting of the National Duma expert body on domestic and inbound tourism, attended by officials from the National Tourism Authority of China.
"We saw a 21% rise in tourism from China to Russia in the first nine months of 2015, compared to 2014 year on year,” Safonov said. “This year, the increase has been 63% from the same period of 2015.”
Despite those impressive figures, he said, there is potential for a further increase in incoming tourist flows in the wake of the Red Route project, launched last year, networking Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Samara, Perm, Yekaterinburg and Ulyanovsk. The theme of the project is the history of socialism in Russia.
Safonov shared his vision of the further development of the Red Route, which transcends the confines of a niche tourist product, saying that the objective should be to attract more visitors from China. "The Red Route is clearly on the grow. Domestic tourists, as well as foreigners, are interested,” Safonov said. “However, it was originally targeted to appeal specifically to Chinese tourists, and the primary target audience should remain the same. Only about 1% of Chinese tourists reach us out of the hundreds of millions of potential travellers in the borderlands. We should make it worth their while to come to us.”
According to the data provided by COTRI, a Chinese survey institute, Chinese people made 30.2 million trips abroad from January through March 2016.