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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 city’s 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. Petersburg’s 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, “we’ll 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 don’t want to only see the Louvre but also Montmartre; in London they want to see Big Ben but they’re also interested in Soho. In turn, we can offer trips to Vasilievsky Island and develop it as a tourist destination,” Shalyto said.

“Tallinn’s 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 city’s roofs must improve first.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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