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MOSCOW, December 12 /TASS/ Moscow will remain a popular tourist destination in 2018 with tourist flows expected to surge to 20 million people, Konstantin Goryainov, Deputy Director for the Department for National Policy and Moscow’s Interregional Relations, said on Monday.
"We expect the number of tourists visiting Moscow to rise by 20% from 2013 reaching nearly 20 million people: 16.5 million tourists visited Moscow in 2013. Hopefully, their number will grow to 17.5 million by the end of 2016," Goryainov stated at the first Moscow Business Forum of Travel Enterprises "Putevodnaya Zvezda" (Pilot Star).
Almost 17 million tourists, of which about 4 mln came from foreign countries, visited Moscow in 2015.
Moscow and St. Petersburg remain popular Christmas and New Year destinations for Ukrainians though Ukraine’s tour operators would not dare to admit that publicly, the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti, which had conducted its own market research, said last month.
"Ukrainians go to Russia for Christmas and New Year holidays. A number of our tourist companies are simultaneously offering tours to Moscow and St. Petersburg. On the sidelines, tour operators are noting a rise in demand for (New Year and Christmas) holidays in Russia. However, they are afraid of openly confirming that," Vesti said.
Travel agencies offer multi-day bus tours beginning in Ukraine and separate programs for those who want to travel to Russia on their own as individual tourists. Traditional tourist attractions in St. Petersburg include the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museums; the Kazan and St. Isaac Cathedrals and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Visitors also have a chance to watch the bridges draw over the Neva River.
In Moscow, tour guides traditionally take visitors to the Kremlin, Red Square, the Tsaritsyno 19th-century country estate; the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, Christ the Savior’s Cathedral, the Mosfilm studios, the All-Russia Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKH). In addition to that, tourists can book a walking tour of Moscow or an iceboat trip on the Moskva River.