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Ukraine's crisis does not affect tourism in Russia

June 26, 2014, 21:13 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
Russia entered the top ten most popular travel destinations with the number of inbound foreign tourists growing by 13-15% every year
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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

ST. PETERSBURG, June 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in and around Ukraine has not affected the development of tourism in Russia, deputy head of Russia's Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism), Dmitry Amunts, told an international sea tourism forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Thursday.

Russia entered the top ten most popular travel destinations with the number of inbound foreign tourists growing by 13-15% every year, he said. Russian citizens also appeared to be active outbound travelers. The country ranked fifth in the world by tourist spending.

“We have more than 60 agreements with various countries on cooperation in the tourism sphere,” Amunts said. “It means that Russian guests are welcome abroad.”

Speaking about problems hindering further development of tourism, Amunts noted the necessity of raising the number of border crossing points, simplifying the coordination of vessel entries, developing seaport infrastructures and renovating passenger-carrying fleet.

Russia ranked 63rd out of 140 countries in terms of travel and tourism industry competitiveness, said Vladimir Alimov, deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry in St. Petersburg, referring to last year’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum.

As the main reasons for that Alimov named poor quality of tourism infrastructure, low security level, including high accident rates on roads, and inefficient state policy in tourism sphere.

Visa problems were not among priority tasks, he said, but more than ten draft agreements on visa-free travel were currently under development with foreign countries.

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