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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

Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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