"There are two sides to the Russian outbound travel market, the wealthy upper classes who travel abroad frequently, use luxury facilities and spend very freely; and there are a growing number of people on average incomes who can afford to travel abroad, but are much more cost-conscious.
Both segments have a strong liking for relaxed sun and beach holidays. The rich and the more affluent middle classes like to combine these with cultural, city and scenic visits. The less affluent and particularly those from the ‘regions’ (i.e. outside Moscow and St Petersburg) tend to be more exclusively focused on sun & beach holidays. Their growing numbers give the impression that the Russian preference for beach destinations is intensifying, but this is not the whole story. Relatively new legislation requiring tour operators and travel agencies to register – and tour operators to post insurance bonds – is transforming the industry. As a result, the total number of Tour Operators (TOs) has been reduced from 4,500 to less than 1,550 officially registered TOs.
The economic downturn has accelerated the process of consolidation even further. Moscow Operators continue to take over Russian regional cities with charter flights to key destinations. Leading Tour Operators reduced the destinations offered in 2009 but are looking to expand their offers in 2010. International acquisitions are changing the market. Thomas Cook bought part of Intourist; TUI bought VKO Travel, two leading European operators and more negotiations are taking place.
The sharp recovery in market demand, while positive overall, also has some negative implications as an increasing number of national tourism organizations (NTOs) are establishing a presence in the country, and not just in the capital. More and more countries are also becoming visa free for Russians, thus eliminating one of the main hurdles to growth.
Arrivals to Jordan from Russia have been rising steadily by winning a minute share of 0.4% of total Russian outbound market." (Jordan Tourism Development Project -JTD-, 2011)