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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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