Russia as an Events & Incentives Destination

31 July 2018

Russia incentive travel has historically been a bit of a non-starter. St Petersburg, Russia's most European city, is a superb destination, but beyond that this sweeping country of snow-blown landscapes and vibrant, historic cities has lagged behind its European and Asian neighbours.

It's not just corporate visitors Russia has been lacking. Despite being the world's largest country, in 2016 Russia welcomed just 177,000 British visitors – Spain had as many every four days.

But now, thanks to improved infrastructure and a huge boost in profile as a result of Russia’s superbly organised World Cup, the country could be on the verge of emerging as one of the world's great incentive destinations.

Talk to us about Events & Incentives in Russia

What's good about Russia as an incentives destination? 

Once-in-a-lifetime Experiences

Until recently, Russia just wasn’t on the radar for corporate events and incentive travel.

That means that, unlike many of our favourite incentive destinations, the chances are your people haven’t been there yet, and may never go again. Russia offers true once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Great Deals 

While visitors from Asia rose in 2017 according to the Russian Travel Union, visitors from the UK and Europe dropped. The return of European visitors will be a key focus for Russia – and that means some great deals on incentives and event trips.

And with significantly increased interest and demand for flights in the aftermath of World Cup fever (Skyscanner reported a 76% year-on-year increase in searches for UK – Russia flights post-World Cup), you can expect more flights to Moscow and St Petersburg, and at better prices.


Russia invested £10bn in this year’s World Cup. Big investments in quality transport links and upgraded accommodation in key cities across the country were part of what made the event run so smoothly – take advantage while everything is still new and running like clockwork.

What's bad about Russia as an Incentive Destination? 


One of the things that made visiting so easy for fans during the World Cup was the suspension of visas in favour of the much-praised Fan IDs. With the competition over, visitors are again subject to Russia’s tedious visa application process (which includes visiting London, Manchester or Edinburgh to have your fingerprints taken).

Politics & Sign Off

Russia might be in buoyant mood now, but it has made a lot of less positive headlines in recent years. It’s not a destination free from controversy, and some organisations may struggle to get sign off around safety, PR and CSR concerns.

For organisations with strong inclusivity/diversity agendas Russia’s sometimes heavy-handed social conservatism can also be an issue.

Travel Times

Transport infrastructure had a huge boost as a result of the World Cup, but remember that Russia is big. Really big - it's only really suited to an incentive weekend if you’re staying in one area (St Petersburg is a great weekend destination). If you’re looking to see more of the country factor in plenty of travel time.

Where To Go & What To Do

St Petersburg 

Russia’s window on Europe is an electrifying incentive destination – see our Spotlight On… St Petersburg for a full write up. Visit in the weeks of the White Nights – the midsummer, party-filled nights between May and July when the sun never quite sets on the city – for maximum impact.


A huge, thriving city with excellent bars and restaurants, some great hotels and experiences including a KGB spy school, Star City where your group can train like Soviet cosmonauts and experience zero gravity, a private tour of the Grand Kremlin Palace, and even a simple ride on the breathtaking Moscow Metro.

Get a Russian Adrenaline Hit

Go heli-skiing or river-canoeing in the mountains outside Sochi, channel your inner 007 in a group speedboat race, drive tanks outside Moscow, speed through the Winter Forest in a horse-drawn Russian troika, drink Vodka from glasses made of ice, or explore wild landscapes in Soviet-era jeeps.

Take it Easy

Take a river cruise through St Petersburg with dinner and traditional Russian music, treat your group to a night at the world’s most renowned ballet at Moscow’s Bolshoi, explore the world’s second largest museum – St Petersburg’s Hermitage, incorporating the Winter Palace – or toast your group with cocktails at the O2 Bar at the top of Moscow’s Ritz Carlton.

Talk to Us About Events & Incentives in Russia

We would love to talk more to you about riding the wave of World Cup fever and using Russian events, incentives and experiences to drive the results you need.  

Get in touch now via the contact page or call 0161 498 3311 for an informal chat to get the ball rolling.