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Англичане о перспективах яхтенного рынка России


The Moscow Boat Show

Held 9-15 February 2009 at the Crocus Expo Centre, Moscow.

I attended the show on the 13th and 14th February. This was only the second year of this show and it should be distinguished from the Moscow International Boat Show with the 17th show due to be held 9-12 April 2009.

Although a relatively small show compared to well established shows such as the London Boat Show it served to illustrate the main boat-related activities in Russia.

Private inland waterway boating in Russia is predominantly a lake or reservoir based activity rather than a river cruising activity. It should be born in mind that the main navigable river - The Volga, consists of a series of hydroelectric reservoirs which can be of great length and several kilometres wide in parts. The industry's strengths appear to be in two key areas: small boats to support lake and river fishing and motor yacht and power boating. Small boats for fishing are increasingly motorised and of a higher specification than previously. International builders are increasing their activities in this area as fishermen increase their specification and the same basic hull can provide a family-friendly introduction to boating. In the motor yacht and power boat area, international brands predominate. Boats vary from small open speedboats to large high-quality motor cruisers and motor yachts.

Although Russia has its own small Baltic coastline accessed through St Petersburg the preference is for yachting in the Mediterranean and principally the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. Turkey and Greece have geographical advantages with Croatia and Montenegro having similar languages to Russian. There is also a market for ocean cruising and Russians are significant owners of mega-yachts. Russia has a Black Sea coastline. Novorossiysk is the major industrial port. Other very much smaller ports where recreational boating is more appropriate include Anapa, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, and Sochi. Sochi will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014 and a huge amount of investment is scheduled for the area to turn it from a 6 million visitor summer domestic resort into a 12 million visitor all-year-round international resort area.

Boating on Russian waters is heavily regulated. All skippers of any size of boat need a licence showing that they are competent and also that they are the legitimate owner of the vessel. These requirements mean that there is no practical legal basis for a hire-boat industry. The outcome is that there are a significant number of yachting schools to provide the necessary qualifications for competence. Many schools have accreditation from the North American based International Yacht Training. Some claim to be MCA recognised in some respect. Most schools are associated with a Yacht Club. The growth of Yacht Clubs incorporating extensive on water and on shore facilities and with other associated property developments has been a notable feature of recent years. This can be seen in the number of exhibitors offering pontoons and similar mooring equipment and service support facilities such as floating fuelling and sewage disposal stations. Several Russian chandlery groups have become established and they are probably the main route for access to the Russian market for many Western companies. Other routes are through a local distributor who may only have a single company offering and in this case may be a wholely-owned subsidiary.  UK products were more in evidence at this show than was the case four to five years ago at MIBS. Finland has a geographic advantage and products designed for similar boating conditions in relation to the Russian market. Brand names being marketed to the Russian market are listed in Appendix 1. UK brands not represented should perhaps consider whether they should be in the Russian market if their products are competitive with the named brands elsewhere.

The Russian boating industry seems to be well served by a range of consumer magazines but trade publications are more difficult to identify. There is considerable emphasis on the luxury and lifestyle aspects of boating in many magazines. It was alleged to me that the primary motive of many boat owners is to impress their friends rather than actually go boating (vodka palaces?). Web-based services are also in evidence.

Hunting and fishing in wilderness areas is a pursuit of many Russian men and specialist craft and vehicles have been developed domestically but there are niches available for imported craft with unique capabilities in this area.

A hazard of Russian boat ownership is that the rivers and lakes are frozen over continuously for several months of the year. Products need to be either capable of withstanding such conditions are be dry-stored ashore, preferably under cover. The availability of appropriate lifting and moving equipment services is a significant consideration for boat owners.

With the development of interest in off shore sailing in foreign waters there is an increasing demand for internationally recognised certification of competence and for cruising support publications in Russian or bilingually in Russian and English. There is a potential opportunity for UK-based training schools, particularly for offshore conditions. Pre-Olympics there is a potential for UK-based training facilities in the relevant water sports.

I had with me my own (new) brochure for Kennet Cruises and this was a useful talking point. There was interest in hire-boating on the English canals as a new aspect of boating. In particular, the freedom from bureaucratic restriction would be a major selling point. In Moscow, tourism agencies do not have the same High Street presence that they have in the UK. They are frequently hidden away in a small office with only a street board advertising package holidays in Egypt, Dubai, or Morocco. A more useful route would be to through the Moscow International Travel & Tourism (MITT) which is being held 19-22 March 2009.

There is also now a large Russian resident population in the UK with their own spending power but who are also able to support the potential for friends and family visits to the UK. Visiting the UK for Russians is now a major difficulty because of UK Visa requirements which require biometric data. Facilities to provide biometric data are extremely limited and could require an extremely long journey to provide them and the grant of a UK Visa appears to be quite an arbitrary decision at the end of this process.

Marketing any product in Russia requires some form of visible presence. Person to person contact usually being required at some stage. There is an underlying respect for British products and services, particularly in areas where there is evident expertise. Britain as a maritime nation with recognised standards in relation to shipping through the MCA and in boating through the RYA is in a position to capitalise on these advantages. To raise awareness in the Russian market of British expertise, products and services in relation to boating in a cost effective manner will require a joint approach from several key players. A proposal for an initial website in line with this is presented as Appendix 2.

The current world financial crisis is having an effect in Russia. There have been job losses in some areas. Foreign manufacturers with plants in Russia are cutting production back in line with reductions in demand. The Russian government is offering key companies who are in difficulties some assistance such as through state purchasing orders. There is uncertainty at a personal level in some areas which is reducing consumer demand. Exchange rates between the UK Pound and the Russian Ruble have fluctuated considerably. For many years there was a stable exchange rate of about 50 RUR to 1 GBP. In 2008 this fell to about 41 RUR but at the time of the Boat Show was back to 50 RUR as the Ruble has fallen against the US Dollar and the Euro. For visitors to Russia it is probably now best to exchange GBP cash to RUR in Russia or use an ATM there to get the best exchange rates.

It is not clear what effect the crisis will have on boating. Boating in its various manifestations is either a passion that will be sustained whatever the circumstances or is an indulgence of the new monied class in Russia who are to be found in managerial roles where a boat could be seen as part of the client marketing mix or a refuge from business pressures. Unless there is a personal or business crisis boating activity will probably be maintained.

The UK boating industry consists of several sectors. Marketing the UK boating industry to Russia requires a multi-faceted approach involving tourism, boat industry manufacturers, technical service suppliers, standards authorities, training establishments, boating attractions and hire service providers. Russian language materials will be essential to support this activity and this requirement strengthens the need for a joint approach. As noted above, one route to the Russian boating market would be a Russian web portal that provided access to the boating products and services available from and in the UK.

A number of brochures from the show and photographs taken there are available to interested persons.

I am grateful for the funding provided by UKTI to support my visit and I hope that this report will be of use in furthering the development of the UK boating industry in relation to Russia.

Norman Briggs

Kennet Cruises

March 2009.



Moscow Boat Show Report 9-15 February 2009. Appendix 2.

Proposal for a joint marketing website and supporting organisation.

My report highlights some of the marketing opportunities that I believe are present in Russia for the UK boating industry. This appendix proposes the creation of a website to support this activity.

  • 1. The website is envisaged as a Russian-language portal to the UK boating industry.
  • 2. A working title of www.britainonwater.org.ru or in Russian http://www.velikobritaniyanavode.ru/ is suggested.
  • 3. Key players to support the site should include:
  • a. British Marine Federation
  • b. British Waterways
  • c. Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • d. Passenger Boat Association
  • e. Royal Yachting Association
  • f. Visit Britain
  • 4. Other organisation that could be involved include:
  • a. Association of Inland Navigation Authorities
  • b. Inland and coastal waterways media
  • c. Inland Waterways Association
  • d. Regional tourism authorities
  • 5. Draft outline site plan

Home  -   Intro 

-   Sailing - cruising areas - opportunities

-   Inland cruising - lakes, rivers, canals -

  • - Water sports - canoeing - rowing
  • - Holidays - passenger trips, hotel boats, self-drive hire
  • - Training - schools - qualifications
  • - Equipment - boats - engines - technical - chandlery
  • - Boats - types - builders
  • - Standards
  • - Help - contacts
  • - London 2012


6. Supporting organisation

The website needs to be supported by a Russian-based organisation that can both maintain and develop the site and provide a response to enquiries. This should be a legally-recognised body that is newly established for the purpose or a service provided by an existing legally registered body. The Russian-based organisation should have a single point of contact in the UK for direction and support. The funding for this development would need to be explored.

7. Timescale

The next significant boating promotion event is the Moscow International Boat Show in April 2009. The British Marine Federation had planned to support a UK stand but this has been cancelled. This would have been an ideal opportunity to launch the proposed web portal but the timescale for doing so is too short. A small stand to present key features of the UK boating as envisaged for the web portal that would attract Russian boating media interest might still be possible. The MIBS does, however, present an opportunity for investigating this proposal further. Support from the proposed key sponsors to attend and participate in an associated visit to examine key facilities and meet key players would be a valuable first step.

Norman Briggs

Kennet Cruises

February 2009