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Russia Seeks Domestic Alternative to Booking.com

Published: August 16, 2014 (Issue # 1824)



  • The project is meant to advance domestic tourism by promoting obscure hotels and spas in the regions.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Russian government is planning to create a domestic hotel booking service to rival the likes of Booking.com, Kommersant reported Friday.

The project is meant to advance domestic tourism by promoting obscure hotels and spas in the regions, the newspaper said, citing the Federal Tourism Agency.

The yet-unnamed online service will also sell museum and train tickets.

The tourism agency and the Communications and Press Ministry are to jointly draft and present the an outline of the project next year, the paper said.

State companies Rostelecom and Rostec were cited as saying they were interested in the project, which could cost around $50 million to develop over four years, according to Kommersant.

Domestic tourism reached 32 million travelers in Russia last year, compared to 18 million who traveled abroad, according to the Federal Tourism Agency.

Russia has worked to decrease its use of various global services in recent months as its relations with the West gradually unravel over the country's alleged meddling in the Ukrainian civil war.

The government announced plans to create a domestic payment system after Visa and MasterCard abruptly stopped services to two Russian banks sanctioned by the U.S. last spring.

State-sponsored search engine Sputnik, an alternative to Google, was launched by Rostelecom in May, though its daily audience currently stands at about 3,000 users, according to web statistics engine Liveinternet.ru.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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