Sochi Holidays: How Much?

Vladimir Savelyev, 27.02.2014 10:57
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The spectacular opening ceremony of the Olympics, coupled with the victories of Russian Olympians, has brought about a new wave of Sochi air ticket sales. According to travel search engine Kayak, during the first week of February the number of search queries regarding the flights to the host city of 2014 Olympics has grown 15% compared to the first week of January. The number of users who are searching for tickets from Moscow to Sochi (for the dates of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) has grown 259% this January as compared to last year’s January. The highest registered price for a ticket from Moscow to Sochi is 89,610 ($2,522) rubles, the lowest one is 2,580 ($73).

Compared to the same period of the last year, 69% more tickets were bought from St. Petersburg to Sochi in January. The sales of tickets from Vienna, which has become one of the key connecting points for European flights, have surged 431%.

“From the very first days of the Olympics we have been observing a curious trend – even those people, who at first did not plan on going to the Games, started taking interest in the air tickets to Sochi. Decisions were made on the spot, and the interval between the dates of search and purchase was usually 3-5 days. At the same time, the price of air tickets remains affordable. Kayak.ru offers tickets from Moscow to Sochi for 3 thousand rubles ($85). Our analysts predict that prices may drop even more in a week,” said Managing Director of Kayak in Russia and the CIS Andrey Verbitsky.

A weekend in Sochi

Astravel can offer vacant rooms in Sochi for the coming weekend. Head of Sochi department Svetlana Konyashkina said that accommodation in 2-3 star hotels in Adler was available. A room will cost 3-5 thousand rubles ($85-140). There are also rooms in Grand Hotel Polyana in Krasnaya Polyana, costing 7,100 rubles ($200) each.



According to Konyashkina, booking for the post-Olympics period has already started. Mostly these are corporate clients who are planning on holding business events in Sochi in March-April. They request accommodation in the Imeretinsky Valley or in Krasnaya Polyana. As for mountain skiers, they are still quite inactive.

“I think it is still a bit too early,” she said. “We should wait a week or so for people to simmer down after the Olympics and remember about mountain skiing. The skiing season extends up to May in Krasnaya Polyana. Right now room prices in a 3* hotel there start at 1.5 thousand rubles ($42)”.

Head Specialist for Krasnodar Krai department in Roza Vetrov Tatyana Kramova told TRN that the interest in the closing ceremony is quite high, which is why the company cannot offer vacant rooms in Sochi hotels for the coming weekend. Starting Monday, however, when visitors start heading back, there will be plenty of accommodation.



According to her, right now a round-trip ticket to Sochi can be bought for 7-8 thousand rubles ($197-225).

“Our clients have already started booking rooms in the hotels of Rosa Khutor ski resort, which will open on March 22. This year we are working only with 4-5* hotels in Krasnaya Polyana, so we are unable to offer budget accommodation. The lowest price of bed and breakfast in a 4* hotel starts at 4.5 thousand rubles ($127) per night,” she said.

The Olympics sold more than a million tickets

According to the press service of Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee, more than 924 thousand tickets for the competitions were sold before the start of the Games and during their first week. Some 30 thousand of them were bought by foreign citizens, with fans from European countries, Canada and the USA being the most active. In many countries tickets are already almost completely sold out – for instance, in Japan and Germany all quotas are fully used up. In Russia most tickets to the Olympics were bought in Moscow, Krasnodar and Sochi. Moscow sales make up 33.2% of the total number of tickets sold.

One hundred thousand guests a day

The city’s mayor Alexander Pakhomov says that currently Sochi is full of guests, of whom there are 100 thousand people staying in the city simultaneously. All hotels and restaurants are working.

“No one is complaining, so we consider our mission fulfilled. We have one single objective – to show the rest of the world how hospitable, kind and welcoming we are,” he said.

The Olympics were visited by more than a million people during 9 days. Cultural and entertainment events are also quite popular, garnering 200 thousand spectators each day.

Sochi’s post-Olympic prospects

City authorities do not neglect the issue of having to attract tourists to the resort once the Olympics are over. Alexander Pakhomov says that the tourist flow is projected to grow 30% this year, or, according to some of the more optimistic forecasts, even 50%.

Last year Sochi was visited by more than 4 million people.

The mayor says that thanks to the new tourist accommodation facilities this is quite feasible. Hotels with the total capacity of 25 thousand rooms have been built for the Olympics. The majority of these hotels are part of international chains.

Formula One Championship, which will be held in Sochi this year, will also contribute to increasing the tourist flow. The races are expected to attract as many tourists as the Olympics.

Alexey Grachev, Head of the Resorts and Tourism Department of the Sochi Administration, believes that the Olympics will give additional impetus to the development of business, ski and cruise tourism.

The main problem that is hindering the growth of the tourist flow is expensive tickets. Alexander Pakhomov said that right now a citizens’ action group spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak was dealing with that issue. It is possible that Sochi will take a page from the experience of other Russian regions and provide airlines with state aid in order to lower ticket prices.

‘Open skies’ regime has been proposed for the local airport in order to attract more foreign tourists to Sochi. This initiative has already been approved by the government. If it is signed into law, the number of airlines that can fly to the city will increase.

After the Games the Olympic Village (about 1,500 apartments) and accommodation facilities of the Olympic Family and International Paralympic Committee (1,285 rooms) will function as an all-season resort complex Sochnoe. Sochnoe de luxe will include 5 buildings of the Olympic Village that are situated right near the park, lakes and Formula One racetrack. Sochnoe del mar consists of the other 23 buildings that are located along the first coastline. Sochnoe city will include 11 seven-story buildings stretching along the promenade, which has lots of bars, restaurants, boutiques and nightclubs.

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