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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, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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