Russians are taking more freely to the air and helping to boost arrivals across Asia-Pacific

12 June, 2019

It appears to be a boom time for Russian arrivals in Asia-Pacific countries, thanks to a doubling in seat capacity on direct flights from Russia to a number of destinations across the region. As Russia has overcome its recent economic constraints, the general trend has been for a positive uplift in capacity and likewise in traffic, across a range of international markets.

The new research from intelligence specialist ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing more than 17 million booking transactions a day, highlights just how significantly the more mobile Russian outbound market is influencing travel into the Asia-Pacific region.

It says total international arrivals in the Asia-Pacific region were up +3.8% in the year period from May-2018 to Apr-2019. With Russia delivering a +54.5% increase meant Europe was the top growing origin continent, up +6.3%. This compares with a +4.2% rise from the Americas, a +3.9% growth from within the Asia-Pacific region and a -1.5% decline in arrivals from the Middle East and Africa.

The extent of Russia's sharply renewed enthusiasm for destinations across Asia-Pacific is evident when reviewing historical figures with the volume of arrivals rocketing towards the end of last summer, according to ForwardKeys' data.

Its analysis shows that the growth in Russian travellers is being dominated by leisure flows (up +62.8% year-on-year), but business travel growth remains healthy (up +27.5% year-on-year). These travellers are staying an average of 16.1 nights with the average party size being 3.3 passengers. In line with general trends towards shorter lead times, the Russians are booking fewer days in advance, 65.8 days, down from 78.1 days in the previous 12 month period (May-2017 - Apr-2018).

The traffic growth between Russia and the Asia-Pacific region has been facilitated by improved connectivity. Scheduled capacity between Russia and Thailand (the largest market for Russians across Asia-Pacific) grew +124.8% in the past year, according to ForwardKeys. This rate was exceeded by Vietnam where capacity rose +153.0%. Overall seat capacity was up +37.6% with growth also recorded in the Maldives (+58.0%), South Korea (+33.1%) and India (+31.3%).

"For the Asia-Pacific region, Russia is now the 9th top origin country - by share - outside of the region itself. It's due to a combination of increased seat capacity on direct flights, high-profile political visits, and astute marketing… as well as agile capacity meeting demand," says Olivier Ponti, vice president, insights at ForwardKeys.