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RUSSIA: Adventure in Luxury

Russia’s majestic lakes and mountains have always attracted an influx of visitors eager to take in the country’s landscape while enjoying the many resorts’ luxury offerings.

According to Natalia Kirilina, sales and marketing manager, Petroff Palace Hotel, Russia's intake of tourists consists of travellers from China, US, Latin America and Europe, although a predominant amount of Russian tourists seem to prefer inland travelling, as Maria Volkova, head, marketing and PR department, RODINA Grand Hotel & SPA indicated, emphasising that 100 percent of their guests are from Russia.

Visitors can enjoy a blend of adventure and relaxation, raising their adrenaline with thrillingly steep mountain slopes and winding down in a luxurious sauna or spa.

Many high-end resorts collaborate with ski resorts in promotion of this sports segment, providing shuttles for visitors looking for a thrill. Svetlana Gaevich, director, UTS Group stressed, "[…] Russia puzzles and fascinates.

It is a perfect destination for luxury travellers. […] We can offer the unique travel experience with Russia's exotic and beautiful landscapes […]," further adding that these luxury travellers main expectations are to explore Russia, although not in the classic way, as these tourists want a unique travel experience.

According to Zulfiia Mirzakarimova, VIP manager, Travel Company Excellence, the most affluent travellers come from European countries.

In general, the inbound luxury tourism to Russia has been well developed and promoted, especially in reference to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, that have everything an affluent customer is looking for, such as exclusive tours, luxury accommodation, private jets, helicopters, VIP cruises, and so on.

"There are also unique places in Russia offering the most adventurous tours like Baikonur Cosmodrome or the world's deepest lake, Bikal," added Mirzakarimova.

2018 FIFA WORD CUP RUSSIA

The whole travel trade industry in Russia is preparing for the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Russia which will be hosted in all major stadiums in the country.

According to the FIFA there have been several significant developments across the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia host cities, such as Sochi, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Tourism authorities, travel agents, hotels, spas and other travel services are focussing on the preparations of this huge European event in order to offer to visitors not only the opportunity to attend the games, but also enjoy what Russia has to offer in terms of luxury, and also culture.

As Inna Perova, internet marketing manager, Olta Travel, mentioned, "[…] We face the increasing interest to 2018 FIFA World Cup, and tourists want to have special programmes in order to fully experience this event."

In agreement, Gaevich added, "[...] We are already preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

Our own local offices in Moscow and St Petersburg have perfected the provision of services for affluent clients and our well established contacts with club, security and airport officials ensure the smooth running of their visit."

ECOMOMIC BOOST

The Russia holds the 45th place on The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015 Ranking.

The Russian travel trade industry has been focussing more on cultural tourism due to the positive impact that this could have on the tourism sector and, in a larger extend, on the country's economy.

Statistics by The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 show that Russia's high rankings on natural and cultural heritage sites could have a large positive impact on the role of tourism in the economy.

The report also indicates that, although Russia ranks relatively low on seeing tourism as a national priority, its high scores on natural and cultural heritage sites show how the industry could potentially play a bigger role in the country's economy.

It could build on strengths in air transport infrastructure and health and hygiene, although the destination has to overcome challenges in safety and security, environmental sustainability and the business environment.

The natural beauties and rich cultural heritage of the country are strong incentives for tourists who lay their interest in adventurous travelling in combination with the luxury accommodation offerings.

"Russia as a luxury destination has rapidly developed in recent years.

The extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Russia, perhaps, plays a crucial role - palaces, majestic churches, galleries of high art and many unique historical monuments attract luxury tourists from around the world," concluded, Perova.