Russian airlines are working against the development of Russian tourism at the time, when many Russians were forced to decide to stay home instead of traveling abroad for holidays due to the plummeting Russian ruble. Thus, a plane ticket from Moscow to Tokyo is cheaper than to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Flying to Beijing is cheaper than to Chita. Distances are the same, but for some reason, it is more expensive for Russian airplanes to land at Russian airports.
Russian tourism: cheap and nasty
For many Russians, who hold passports for traveling abroad, it has been no secret for years that going to Turkey and Egypt is a lot cheaper than traveling to Black Sea resorts in Russia. In addition to lower prices, Russians are attracted to higher quality of service that leaves much to be desired in the majority of Russian hotels and resorts.
The underdevelopment of Russian resort cities is a consequence of the shortage of financial means in regions. This could be fixed, if Russians wanted to travel to other parts of the country for holidays.
For the time being, it makes no sense to develop regional tourist industry, because most people simply can not afford traveling to the Northern Caucasus of the Far East of Russia to enjoy the beauty of those wonderful places.
For example, if one bothers to buy a plane ticket from Moscow to Chita two months in advance, they will have to pay 26,000 rubles for a return ticket ($430).
As for seaside holidays, which most Russians always look forward to every year, Aeroflot sells plane tickets to Krasnodar for 5,000 rubles (one way from Moscow, $84). Transaero sells one way tickets to Sochi for 4,000 rubles. Prices to travel to the Crimea from Moscow are about the same.
Aeroflot sells tickets to Simferopol, the Crimea, for nearly 5,500 rubles. For comparison, tickets to Central Europe, for example to Prague, Vienna or Paris can be available for less than 5,000 rubles, although it is European airlines that sell them, not Russian ones.
The numbers, multiplied by two for every traveler, are the answers to the question of the poor development of domestic tourism in Russia. Most Russians live their whole life in the world's largest country without even trying to travel across their vast motherland.
Some, of course, prefer to travel by cars or trains. However, as for cross-country trains, one can not say that their tickets are way too much cheaper than plane tickets. If people do not have a few extra days that they can spare traveling in a train, they do not even consider such an option.
What is the structure of an airplane ticket?
Pravda.Ru decided to find out why plane tickets inside Russia are more expensive than tickets to foreign countries.
"As for the prices for comparable distances, e.g. from Moscow to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and to Beijing, then a flight inside Russia is 18 percent VAT taxed. An international flight is not subject to VAT. Secondly, there can be a difference in servicing aircraft at the airports of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Beijing. The price difference can be in fuel that one may need to purchase in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Beijing, etc. Unfortunately, it just so happens that the price of a domestic airplane ticket is higher," chief editor of AVIA Ru Network, Roman Gusarov, told Pravda.Ru.
According to Mr. Gusarov, the question of the development of domestic tourism goes beyond the framework of the aviation industry. When regions invest in the tourist industry and Russians choose to travel inside, rather than outside Russia, it will entail a more dynamic development of air transportation, as well as lower prices. As long as the traffic flow on domestic flights is not that large, those people who buy plane tickets to fly inside Russia, have to pay high price for fuel and so on and so forth.
Valery Zubov, a member of the State Duma Committee for Transport, told Pravda.Ru that Russian regions have no opportunity to develop domestic tourism, because they have o money for that. "In the new situation, though, there is a hope that it will change some day," the official added.
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