A couple of years ago, I did a “Travel Minute” on the rise in Chinese tourism. I predicted hotels would—by now—have menus in Chinese, and signage in Chinese would begin to appear everywhere. I was wrong.
Not that the Chinese aren’t traveling in increasing numbers. But so far they’re favorite destination are Australia and southeastern Asian countries closer to home.
It’s the Russians who are making a big splash in tourism, especially in Eastern and Western Europe and—among the very rich–to cities where they can buy trophy real estate such as Miami, New York, and California.
I first noticed this a year ago when I was in Monaco, and it was even more obvious when I was there in early June. Russians were a godsend to the tourism industry in Europe during the global recession.
Nine per cent of tourists to Greece are from Russia; four years ago, only two per cent of tourists were Russians. Greece has experienced the sharpest increase in Russian visitors followed by Iceland, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Latvia, and Spain.
No, there aren’t Russian menus in American restaurants yet, but at this rate, there will be Russian menus before there will be menus in Chinese.