Russian Tourism Gearing Up for Growth
President Putin signed a document on 30 July to lay out steps for increasing domestic and international tourism to Russia.
Signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the document instructs the Government to devise proposals by 1 November 2013 to streamline and simplify the visa process for citizens of the largest source countries of tourism to Russia. In addition, a long-term integrated strategy for development of domestic and international tourism to the Russian Federation is to be developed and approved by 1 June 2014.
According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, international tourism during Q1 2013 showed 17% year-over-year growth, with 6,377,716 foreign visitors arriving in Russia. Business tourism is responsible for 24% of the total.
According to research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), business tourism will form up to 40% of all tourism to Russia in coming years. Proof of this can be found in the growing popularity of Russia among event organizers as a venue for large-scale international events. In May through July 2013 alone, St Petersburg held such world-class events as the SportAccord International Convention, the Russia–ASEAN Business Forum, and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies convention. St Petersburg will also be the destination for heads of state as they gather for the G20 summit this September.
While these events unfold, the business community is continuing to actively participate in marketing St Petersburg as a destination for large international conventions. The ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre is working with the St. Peter Line ferry company to develop an all-inclusive package offer for foreign convention visitors, who can arrive in the city by ferry and remain in Russia for up to 72 hours without a visa. The opening of the state-of-the-art ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre, scheduled for next year, will have an enormous impact on tourism in St Petersburg as well.
St Petersburg is RussiaТs cultural capital Ц and now it has been temporarily transformed into the agricultural capital as well, bringing together participants from 53 regions of Russia and 17 countries at the Agrorus 2013 Exhibition and Trade Fair.
Eighty experts from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, Poland, Russia and other countries gathered together for the first time in St Petersburg to discuss the future of the global convention industry. The summer session of the Central European Chapter of the ICCA, the leading international congress and convention association, began today at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex.
Commemorated on 10 August, the Day of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God saw the consecration and bell-raising ceremony at a church specially restored in the iconТs honour at the new ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Participation in Zoosphere has been confirmed by 29 foreign companies from 17 countries as of 8 August 2013, representing 22% growth over the year prior.