The United States is an increasingly popular country for Russian travel destinations, surpassing all other countries in the Americas in terms of what tourist destinations Russians are searching for. Many of the top 5 American travel destinations for Russians are the same as the most popular destinations for other international travelers, though there are some distinguishing characteristics. For example, the large Russophone community in New York functions as an excellent support system for Russians interested in traveling to the city, while Russian interest in Miami is as much about real estate as it is about tourism. In all of the following cities, there exists some level of travel services offered by Russian speakers that cater to Russophone visitors.
America’s largest city is also by far its most visited by international tourists. Landmarks such as Times Square and the Empire State Building, as well as world-class museums, restaurants, and other cultural institutions attract millions of visitors every year. A thriving hotel industry, expansive public transportation, and three major international airports further draw visitors to the Big Apple. These attractions are not missed on Russia, as New York is the American city Russians are most interested in visiting. Aside from the usual tourist draws, New York appeals to Russians for a number of other reasons as well. The city is host to one of the largest concentrations of Russian Americans in the United States, with about 600,000 living in the city alone. Brighton Beach, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, and the surrounding area has long been an ethnic enclave for Russian speakers, and is the base for a number of tour operators and translators catering to Russian speaking visitors. With a large existing Russophone population, it is relatively easy for Russians interested in visiting New York to find a guide for their visit.
America’s most populous state is the second most popular U.S. tourist destination for Russians. California has long had a thriving tourism industry, thanks to diverse cities and landscapes that offer visitors a number of different attractions based on their preference. If soaking up warm weather on a beach at practically any time of the year is your fancy, then the beaches of Los Angeles County will be a must. Visiting Los Angeles also allows tourists to bask in the cultural sites of the entertainment capital of the world, as well as even tour the neighborhoods that the stars of Hollywood call home. Yandex records nearly 148,000 monthly searches for Los Angeles, demonstrating the interest the city generates among Russians. Aeroflot offers a nonstop flight daily between Moscow and Los Angeles, as well as one in the reverse direction. Even more impressive are the searches for “Hollywood,” which generate over 169,000 impressions a month. San Francisco is another popular tourist destination, with the city’s famous architecture and soaring vistas drawing in scores of visitors. The city draws nearly as much interest from Russians as Los Angeles, generating over 144,000 searches every month. Russian language tours are offered in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, as well as in San Diego.
Year-round warm weather, popular beaches, world-class amusement parks; some of the same attractions that draw tourists to California are also what drives Russian tourism in Florida. The Sunshine State is the third most searched American tourist destination in Russia, and it is easy to see why. Miami offers visitors beach-going weather in every month of the year, as well as miles of beaches that allow tourists to take advantage of such weather. These traits allure to Russians as much as to any foreign visitors and it is easy to locate Russian language tourism services in Miami. However, the benefits of Miami also appeal to Russians to the extent that the city is a popular location for Russians to have seasonal homes. A number of Russian speaking realtors operate in the Miami metro area, and Miami International Airport offers the only nonstop flights in Florida from Russia (a twice-weekly Aeroflot route from Moscow). Though Miami generates the vast majority of the Russian interest in Florida, Orlando is another popular destination, and Russian language services are offered there as well.
Tied as the fourth most popular American tourist destination most searched by Russians, the Mariana Islands may come as a surprise on this list. The Pacific Ocean islands offer Russians living in the Far East relatively close beach vacations in the United States, in a manner of speaking. The two major territories of the U.S. in the Mariana Islands are the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. The Northern Mariana Islands are technically a “commonwealth,” and hence have a similar political status to Puerto Rico. The Northern Marianas are host to only around 53,000 people across fifteen islands, but a burgeoning tourism industry is a major part of the economy, particularly on the main island of Saipan. Beautiful, pristine beaches and a wealth of outdoor activities that allow visitors to take in the natural beauty of the Northern Marianas are popular tourist attractions. Tourist facilities are well developed on the more populous island of Guam, which is host to a few different Russian language tour operators, while Saipan is also home to at least one Russian tour company.
Tied with the Mariana Islands for interest in American destinations, Nevada’s place on this list is due almost entirely to Las Vegas. Sin City’s interest among international visitors has historically been driven by the city’s reputation as a gambling hub, with large casino-hotels encouraging tourism based around betting and not much else. While gleaming resorts with large casinos still dominate the scene in Las Vegas, the city has in recent years shifted to a focus on family-friendly activities in order to diversify its reputation. This has been particularly true with regards to the theater performances that are a constant on the Las Vegas Strip, which now offer more varied entertainment options than has been the tradition. The hospitality industry in Las Vegas is an attraction in and of itself, as some of the best hotels in the world help to draw in visitors from Russia and elsewhere. Resources are available for Russian speakers visiting Las Vegas.