Tourism – Russia becoming popular destination

 

The number of foreign tourists visiting Russia is projected to reach 3.42 million this year

Demand for tours to Russia has increased by almost 20 percent this year.
“There has been a 14-18 percent increase in the number of international tourists visiting the country,” Elena Lisenkova, general director of Hospitality Income Consulting, told the newspaper.

Lisenkova said that as well as St Petersburg, the cities of Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Moscow have proved popular with tourists. According to Lisenkova, Asian visitors made a particular contribution to the tourism boom, including a 40 percent rise in the number of Chinese visitors to Russia. By the end of the year, Lisenkova’s firm expects 250,000 Chinese tourists to visit Russia, while the Federal Agency for Tourism estimates a 30 percent rise in Chinese tourists this year.

Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Tourist Agency Sergey Korneev said that St. Petersburg has enjoyed particular popularity among foreign guests. Russia’s northern capital was recently named this year’s best European tourist destination by the World Travel Awards.

He attributed the positive trend to the agency’s Visit Russia project, which has recently opened 20 tourist offices overseas, in Europe and Asian countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Iran.

The agency has also launched several tourist routes to help visitors get their bearings in areas including Sochi and the Altay Republic.

One of them is the “Silver Necklace,” a project which seeks to create a route for visitors to historical cities in the northern Vologda region.

The project wants to recreate the success of the “Golden Ring” concept, a tourist route which unites eight historically important cities north of Moscow.

Lisenkova said that the Visit Russia investment will start to bear fruit in the medium term, while the China Friendly project to attract tourists from China has already made a large contribution to the increase. “The strategic promotion of Russian tourism abroad, opening the Visit Russia offices hasn’t yet made a large contribution to the number of tourists, but in the next 3-5 years we can expect some results in the form of increased number of tourists from countries where the offices have been opened.”

This year’s increase continues the trend from 2015, when 2.93 million tourists visited Russia. According to the Russian Union of Tour Operators (RST), citing figures from Russia’s Federal State Statistical Service, the most visitors came from China, followed by Germany and the US.

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