City Sees Hike in Visitors Thanks to Direct Flights

City Sees Hike in Visitors Thanks to Direct Flights

Published: October 10, 2012 (Issue # 1730)

The number of tourists visiting St. Petersburg this year will increase by 3.6 percent to 5.7 million people, said Tatyana Gavrilova, director of the northwestern office of the Russian Tourism Union, Interfax reported.

“It is expected that this year 5.7 million people will visit St. Petersburg: 2.5 million foreign tourists and 3.2 million Russian travelers. Among foreign tourists, the majority come from China, Germany and Turkey,” Gavrilova said, pointing out that in 2011 the city was visited by 5.5 million tourists.

Gavrilova said the positive trend of the incoming tourism volume had been influenced by the introduction of direct flights to St. Petersburg as well as visa-free regimes with a number of countries.

As a result, the 2012 tourist season was characterized by the appearance of wealthy tourists from India and an increase in visitors from Brazil and a number of other Latin American countries, as well as Israel. The Japanese are also taking a big interest in Russia.

On the other hand, fewer Spaniards, Danes, Finns and Estonians traveled to St. Petersburg this year compared to previous years.

According to the forecast of the city’s Investment and Strategic Projects Committee, by 2016 the number of tourists visiting the city will have increased to 7 million people a year.

The committee listed the visa requirement, traffic jams and the cost of package tours as factors dissuading foreigners from travel to Russia.

Speaking about outbound tourism, Gavrilova said that in the summer months alone up to 6.5 million people crossed border points in Russia’s northwest. Russian travelers most often traveled to Turkey, Greece and Egypt. Travel agents have registered an annual 15 percent increase in Russian tourists traveling abroad.

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