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Sunday, August 21, 2016

RVs In Russia, A Vast Untapped Potential Market

Above, Anya and I at The Chart House.

Last night, while Anastasia (Asya) and I were conversing over dinner at The Chart House in Marina del Rey, the conversation turned to the subject of RVs and camping. She asked me in great detail on what it's like to travel by RV and the different systems in a motorhome (such as fresh water tanks, waste water holding tanks, propane, etc.).

I asked her if there are any motorhomes and travel trailers in Russia, her home country. She said that she's never seen any. Most Russians do go camping in tents.

I remarked that since Russia is the world's biggest country with lots of wilderness areas, it would seem that once incomes of the Russian people rise to comparable levels of other countries, Russia would be a great place for RV companies to tap into that market. Right now, it is a vast untapped market. It could be that disposable income levels of the Russian people haven't risen enough for them to get into "the RV lifestyle" as yet.

Asya said that younger people, who have little or no memories of the former Soviet economic system, are very ambitious about career goals. She said that they are motivated, like other people in free societies, to experience other lifesyles and accumulate material goods, which may include RVs. She was born at about the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

She had told me before that older generations of Russians are a bit bewildered about dealing with the new economic system where the government isn't taking care of all their needs as it had before. The former socialist/communist system made them too dependent on the government. This caused them problems in adapting to a more self-reliant life. The younger generations have adapted well, she said.

While she had never personally seen any motorhomes or travel trailers in Russia, there are rental companies in Russia (ironically, one is in her hometown of St. Petersburg) who rent motorhomes. Also, caravans of motorhomes and travel trailers of foreign visitors do roam around the country.

One thing they face is the scarcity of developed campgrounds. By our standards, the campgrounds that are there are primitive and are filthy with litter. Here is an interesting article on camping by RV or car in Russia. It has good information for people who are contemplating visiting Russia by RV.

It will be interesting to see how the leisure and RV industries develop in Russia as the years go further away from the former Soviet system and the income levels of Russian citizens rise. There's a lot of potential there.

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