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Tourists Turn Back on St. Petersburg

Published: April 30, 2014 (Issue # 1808)



  • Tourist numbers are down significantly so far this year.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The number of trips to St. Petersburg canceled by foreign tourists has increased by 15 to 20 percent this year when compared to the same time last year, tourism industry representatives said at a press conference Monday.

According to Leonid Flit, chairman of the management board of the North-Western regional department of the Russian Tourism Industry Union, the increase in canceled trips and bookings is due to recent events in Ukraine.

The majority of cancellations have been made by American tourists, as well as by a number of European tourists, Flit said. However, the citys tourism officials said that such decreases are not fatal to the industry. I think the situation will improve in June, he said.

At the same time, Yekaterina Shadskaya, director of the North-Western regional department of the Russian Tourism Industry Union, said that they registered an increase in the number of Russian tourists from other regions visiting St. Petersburg.

This year we witnessed an increase in Russian tourists traveling around the country. More and more of them are coming to St. Petersburg, Shadskaya said.

The experts also discussed the general options to attract more tourists to the city. Some of the suggestions included building more budget and two- and three-star hotels in St. Petersburg, developing new tourism clusters in the city as well as launching more St. Petersburg-oriented Internet applications.

Inna Shalyto, head of St. Petersburgs Tourism Development Committee, admitted that the city has a deficit of two- and three-star hotels, and that officials are currently discussing what can be done to improve the situation.

We understand that building two- or three-star hotels in the center of the city is quite expensive. Therefore we may consider the construction of such hotels in areas further from the center. However, this will then mean we need to organize faster and easier transportation to those areas and the introduction of English road signs in the city. It is quite a process, Shalyto said.

Shalyto said St. Petersburg could become a place for international exhibitions too but, well need to build a modern hall able to hold up to 7,000 people and another two halls to seat up to 3,000 people, she said.

Shalyto said St. Petersburg should also develop cluster tourism, in which tourists come not only to see the most famous sights but other areas of the city, along with yacht tourism and roof-walking tours.

In Paris, people dont want to only see the Louvre but also Montmartre; in London they want to see Big Ben but theyre also interested in Soho. In turn, we can offer trips to Vasilievsky Island and develop it as a tourist destination, Shalyto said.

Tallinns yacht tourism brings up to 20 million euros a year and Stockholm takes in 50 million euros a year, Shalyto said. We only get a few thousand euros for that. We should open more yacht clubs and develop this activity.

Roof-walks are another interesting option for providing tourists a new view of the city. However, Shalyto said that the safety of the citys roofs must improve first.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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