Tourism remains one of the most important spheres of life in the Northern Capital. This year the number of visitors to the city has grown by almost 15%. The number of museums continues to grow. More and more festivals, light shows, festivities and other entertainment events are held in the city every year. And this ism, without a doubt, one of the main reasons why more tourists are coming here. Mariya Evsyukova summarizes it in her report
In 2016 St. Petersburg had been mentioned a lot in different ratings on tourism. According to the international World Travel Awards, St. Petersburg again became the most popular destination in Europe. A British tourist website Vouchercloud acknowledged the Spas na Krovi cathedral as Russia's most significant landmark. The industry has every single chance to become a defining one for the city.
Mariya Evsyukova, reporter: “This is how more than 7 million tourists saw St. Petersburg in 2016. And this is how, on travelers’ pictures the city on Neva was seen by an even larger number of people. But it is always better to visit it yourself, then hearing about it 100 times or seeing someone else's pictures”
And it's not only the architecture which attracts foreigners. Festivals like “White Nights”, “Opera to Everybody”, the main festivity of graduates “Crimson Sails” and light show on Dvortsovaya Square. Travelers note that not one other city in the world has such rich entertainment schedule all year round.
There has also been a breakthrough in hotel industry. For instance, classification of hotels - implemented this year - significantly raised the quality of service. But an average tourist still prefers cheaper accommodation, and hostels are in high demand. There is a shortage of them today already. That's why additional buildings were allocated by the authorities to be redesigned as mini-hotels.
Ekaterian Loginova, CEO of mini-hotel chain: “Most of our hostels provide quality service, but there are also other hotels in the market. And when the law on minor means of accommodation is passed, these hostels will leave the market. Buildings allocated by the cities authorities will take their place”
The main condition is safety. Recent events in the world have turned quite a few heads from making trips. The city authorities are keeping this in mind. A special tourist police has been created in St. Petersburg. A designated division will patrol the places where travelers convene, providing safety for them.
The city’s typical image is also changing. City buses already have routes in English, names of St. Petersburg streets will soon be translated into Chinese. This year around 200,000 visitors from China came here. Beijing-St. Petersburg is now one of the most popular routes.
Andrey Mushkarev, chairman of committee on development of tourism in St. Petersburg’s government: “On behalf of St. Petersburg's government, I would like to thank everybody who participated in increasing the number of Chinese tourists. Every year it's growing significantly. And it's a really good trend, we have a huge potential”
Zhang Shu Yu, deputy consul of PRC in Russia: “We have a saying in China - if you have not been to St. Petersburg, you have not been to Russia. And it once again proves that the city has a special place in the hearts of the tourists.
Another direction of development is exhibition tourism. Today St. Petersburg is developing as a center of Russian exhibition activity. Salons, forums and presentations are being held at multiple venues in the city. However, the city needs to create conditions, according to the government, to make business meetings possible in any part of the city
Georgiy Poltavchenko, the governor of St. Petersburg: “We have to work on that. We have to attract investors, which could be interested, and create convention centers and expo halls. Such investors, or at least people interested in that, are already there”
According to many who have visited Saint Petersburg, it's becoming the city which if you visited once, you would like to return here over and over again.