13 januaryRSS Print
Quality of service is the main subject of complaints from Russian tourists
The results of the work of the RF Civic Chamber
During the New Year festive period, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation received 275 complaints from citizens holidaying either in Russia or abroad.
«People called our tourists’ rights protection hotline, wrote to us and our partners via social networks and sent us emails,» explained Chairperson of the RF Civic Chamber’s Commission on the Development of Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and Preservation of Traditional Values Yelena Sutormina speaking at a press conference at the Parliamentary Newspaper office on 13 January.
The complaints were mainly regarding poor-quality service at places of accommodation (45 percent of complaints, with most of them within Russia), delayed flights at airports (23 percent) and poor service from travel operators, who delayed transfers of tourists or accommodated them at the wrong hotels (18 percent of complaints).
«On the whole, the situation is changing for the better. The share of complaints submitted to the Civic Chamber regarding hotels has decreased by 20 percent this year. However, it is still the quality of service that remains the main subject of complaints from citizens. In particular, there were complaints about the lack of certain expected essential items in hotel rooms, and there were cases where tourists were not treated politely by the staff,» said the RF Civic Chamber member.
In Russia, most of the complaints came from Moscow and the Moscow region, St. Petersburg and popular ski resorts located in the Krasnodar Territory and Kabardino-Balkaria.
«Considering the number and nature of complaints, the past New Year festive period was fairly calm on the whole. All complaints were mainly related to domestic and technical difficulties,» said Yelena Sutormina.
According to Yelena Sutormina, the most visited regions of Russia included Moscow (over 20 million people visited the Russian capital during the New Year festive period), St. Petersburg and the Krasnodar Territory (Sochi, Crimea and Krasnaya Polyana). According to tour operators, the top 10 most popular outbound destinations included Turkey, Thailand, the UAE, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Goa (India), Indonesia and Malaysia.
«The launch of the railway line to the Crimea in late December was, undoubtedly, a landmark event for the tourism industry. According to experts, this will enable us to increase the tourist flow to the peninsula by 10 percent in 2020 alone. I’m sure that, in the future, these figures will grow dynamically,» said the RF Civic Chamber member.
Yelena Sutormina also touched upon the issue of the inbound market’s reaction to a decrease in the number of hostels.
«Forecasts of a strong increase in prices because of the introduction of the new law banning the placement of hostels within residential premises did not materialise. Tourists have such options as daily rental of housing or apartments, however the forecasts can still come true in the new year due to the ongoing closure of hostels. For example, almost 400 hotels were closed down within three months in St. Petersburg. Also, Sevastopol already has concerns regarding the forthcoming summer season: the law removes more than 500 mini hotels and guest houses of the city of federal significance from the legal framework,» she explained.
According to Yelena Sutormina, the beginning of the year shows that the importance of the brand of tour operators has significantly increased for the mass tourist.
«Whereas previously tourists trusted only their travel agent while their tour operator, organising the trip, remained in the background, now trust in the brand of the service provider itself, in its brand awareness and credibility is coming to the fore when choosing a holiday,» she said explaining that this trend has emerged against the backdrop of a number of negative events related to bankruptcies.
Yelena Sutormina expressed the opinion that the new year is bringing significant changes for inbound tourism: electronic visas will be introduced for foreigners to enter Russia from 2021, and 2020 will be the year of informing the world community about this innovation and preparing for it. A lot will depend on how these visas will be issued. Currently, there is a trial of electronic visas for St. Petersburg, and foreigners complain about refusals, which account for approximately 30 percent of the total number of applications.
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