The World Spurns Russia
Even though Russia’s territory is far more vast than that of the United States,vastly more foreign tourists arrive in the USA each year than come to Russia. The USA ranks #2 in the world for international arrivals, while Russia does not even make the top 10. It ranks #14, with less than half the number of visitors received by the supposedly hated USA.
And Russia’s figures are in fact vast exaggerations. Russia counts as “international” visitors people from places like Belarus and Ukraine and Kazakhstan that were previously part of the same country. Take away those visits, and almost nobody from the civilized world is daring to set foot in Putin’s Russia. By contrast, America’s visitors come from the elite nations of the world, from Japan to France.
And things are getting worse. Much worse.
Companies and Markets reports:
Growth in foreign visitor arrivals to Russia in the three-year period between 2005 and 2008 was weak, estimated at an annual average of just 2.4%. The most recent figures from national data sources for the first half of 2009 show a sharp fall in arrivals, down by over 11% year-on-year (y-o-y) to nearly 9.9mn. Regarding key source markets outside the former Soviet Union, there was negative y-o-y growth in arrivals from Germany, the US, Italy, the UK, China and Poland. Of these countries, the most significant rates of decline were recorded for the number of visitors from Poland (-46% y-o-y), the UK (-24% y-o-y) and the US (-15% y-o-y).
Outbound tourism from Russia, however, is soaring. It seems Putin’s Russia is becoming just as unpopular with the Russians themselves as it is with foreigners, and they are already thinking about fleeing — just as in Soviet times. How long will it be, then, before Putin must impose the same restrictions on exit visas that were seen in Soviet times?
Then there’s the money. Because those who visit the USA are far more wealthy than those who visit Russia, the USA earns over $100 billion in tourist-generated revenue each year, by far the most earned by any country on the planet (in fact, nearly twice as much as its nearest competitor). So much for the crazy Russian propaganda meme that the world hates America and is just waiting to embrace Russian leadership!
Meanwhile, Russia earns almost nothing from the third-world tourists who are the only ones crazy enough to visit. As one blogger puts it: “Russian tourism industry is far from being stable. Revenue from tourism in Russia accounts for about 1% of GDP, whereas in countries with developed tourism industry it is more than 10% on average.” In other words, Russia earns ten times less than a modern state from tourism revenues.
But if you think all Russia loses as a result is cash income, think again.
Russia also loses political influence, as most clearly seen when every single major nation of the world repudiated Russia’s 2008 annexation of Abkhazia and Ossetia, leaving Russia begging in the most pathetic manner imaginable for even tiny island countries to do so.
Russia is, of course, world famous for xenophobia. So in fact there may be many Russians who are so benighted and full of hatred that they actually think all this is good news. They want to purge foreigners from their landscape even though their own government acknowledges that their economy is doomed without foreign investment.
So it’s the same old self-destructive, indeed suicidal behavior from the Russians. They provoke and alienate the world, then they cry and complain about having so many foreign enemies and so much dire poverty. No nation, of course, can survive this type of behavior for long.