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Top Destinations for Russian Tourists in 2023

The Russian Ministry of Culture and Tourism has released a list of the leading long-haul destinations for Russian tourists in the first half of 2023. Topping the list is Turkey, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Egypt, and a tie between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

  1. Turkey: According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, the country received 2,614,029 visits from Russian citizens in the first half of 2023. This number is only 3.5% lower than pre-pandemic levels, making Turkey the most popular destination for Russian tourists.
  2. United Arab Emirates: The UAE is ranked second on the list with a cautious forecast of over 800,000 visits from Russian tourists within six months of 2023. Dubai alone welcomed 554,000 Russian tourists from January to May. Russia has become the second most significant inbound market for the UAE after India and the first in terms of the number of “real” tourists (as Indians primarily travel for work). Russian tourists are showing considerable interest in summer tours to the UAE, and this year is expected to see a record number of visits, although some of these visits are transit trips.
  3. Thailand: The Ministry of Sports and Tourism of Thailand reported that the country received 791,562 Russian tourists on direct and connecting flights in the first six months of 2023. This is an almost tenfold increase compared to the previous year, but it should be noted that part of 2022 had no direct flights from Russia to Thailand, which contributed to the significant growth.
  4. Egypt: According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, the country welcomed 750,000 Russian tourists in the first half of the year. The vast majority of these visitors were clients of tour operators.
  5. Sri Lanka and the Maldives: Sri Lanka received 110,275 tourists from Russia during January-June, and the Maldives welcomed a similar number of Russian visitors, with 109,361 arrivals, according to the respective tourism authorities.

Outside the top five, other popular destinations for Russian tourists in the first half of the year included Indonesia (forecasted to have over 80,000 visits from Russia), Cuba (67,600 Russian tourists), Vietnam (62,000 arrivals in January-June), Malaysia (estimated at around 55,000 visits), Seychelles (30,573 Russian tourists), and Cyprus (over 29,000 visits).

It is expected that China will also be among the top 10 destinations for Russian tourists, but data on tourism flow to China in the first half of the year will become available later.

The resumption of tourism activities and travel opportunities in these countries is a positive sign for the global tourism industry, showing that despite challenges, people are eager to explore the world and experience new cultures once again.

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