Natalie Tours is one of Russia’s largest providers of package tours to popular international vacation destinations. Tourix is a Western-style travel reservation portal in the model of Expedia or Orbitz. It offers package tours, but also offers separate flight reservations, hotel, car rental and insurance.
Tourix Holidays, registered in September 2009, was previously 100% owned by its founder and general director Yuri Nosov.
Financial results of the company were not disclosed, but they are “still modest”, according to Vorobjev. Monthly reservations through the Tourix site now amount to only several hundred air tickets and several dozen hotel rooms, according to Vedemosti.
Online air ticket and hotel reservations are still not very popular among Russians. Historically, Russians have preferred to book travel as part of a package tour. There are several reasons for this: package tours utilize charter flights, which are 20-30% cheaper than regular flights; with package tours, visa applications are forwarded in a group by the tour operator. Many Russians rightly believe that it is more difficult to receive visas when applied for independently.
This may be changing, however, as visa regimes for Russian tourists loosen, Russians’ foreign language skills improve and credit card penetration and e-commerce practice increases.
Natalie Tours also received the option to purchase the remaining 75% of the shares. Vorobjev said that he would like to invest an additional $5 million into the portal together with a partner.
According to Vorobjev, he has already approached the British company Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook had no comment.
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