A tank tour within the snow, an evening on the Czar’s Palace? With excursions off the overwhelmed observe and facilitation of the visa course of, Russia goals to turn out to be one of many world’s high ten vacationer locations.
One 12 months after the World Cup, Russia is searching for new methods to draw vacationers. By 2035, revenues from tourism are anticipated to greater than double to the equal of 22.four billion euros.
“Younger foreigners can now uncover Russia and its points of interest forbidden to their mother and father,” advertises Maria Lomidze, managing director of the Affiliation of Russian Tour Operators. In spite of everything, the previous USSR has so much to supply with its wealthy cultural heritage and spectacular landscapes – from the subtropical seaside resorts on the Black Sea to Lake Baikal in Siberia and the volcanoes of Kamchatka.
With round 25 million vacationers in 2018 – primarily from the previous Soviet republics and extra lately from China – Russia presently ranks 16th on the World Tourism Group’s listing. However the difficulties in acquiring visas, lack of contemporary lodging, and poor transport connections exterior the massive cities nonetheless deter many vacationers.
“In keeping with our estimates, 5 million international guests got here to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, and due to this promoting we anticipated a rise within the variety of guests this 12 months,” says Lomidze. “However due to the lengthy and tough visa course of, the World Cup impact weakened.”
The Kremlin, subsequently, introduced to facilitate entry formalities from 2021 with digital short-stay visas for EU residents, the Chinese language and Koreans. As of in the present day, since October 1st, 2019 such visas are to come back into power for stays of as much as eight days in St. Petersburg and the encompassing area.
Since July there was the same provide for the exclave Kaliningrad, the previous Königsberg. Since 2017, residents from 18 nations have additionally been capable of get hold of free digital visas for the Far East of Russia, together with the Kamchatka area, for ski and mountaineering excursions in unspoiled countryside.
To draw vacationers, tour operators now additionally depend on Arctic excursions with reindeer herders, journeys in tanks from the Soviet period or an in a single day keep in a palace that belonged to Peter the Nice.
However in response to estimates by the organizers’ affiliation, the entire of Russia spends solely round a million euros a 12 months on tourism advertising and marketing. Moscow must make investments billions in tourism infrastructure, however specialists consider that a main picture marketing campaign is simply as essential in view of Russia’s position within the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
In distinction, the Soviet Union had focused international vacationers on the time. Posters and magazines marketed journeys by means of the Central Asian steppe and the Caucasus with thrills. “The attraction of the Soviet Union consisted primarily of the aura of the forbidden, a bit like North Korea in the present day,” says Andrej Siwitski, deputy head of the state journey company Intourist, based 90 years in the past.