ST. Petersburg, May 25. /TASS/. Business forums, such as the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), will help boost the city’s tourism attraction, governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko said in an interview with news agencies ahead of SPIEF-2017.
"The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a business event and cannot produce any influence on tourists directly. Typically, such large-scale events can only impact prices in 4-and 5-star hotels, whereas an average tourist opts for a cheaper accommodation and can meet a SPIEF guest only in museums or St. Petersburg’s streets," he said. "But on the other hand, the very fact of holding such forums helps to boost the city’s tourist attractiveness."
In 2015, St. Petersburg received about 6.5 million Russian and foreign tourists, a record-breaking figure for the Russian travel sector. However this record was broken in 2016 when the tourism flow grew to 6.9 million. World Travel Award recognized St. Petersburg as Europe’s best travel destination.
The city has been tasked to get into Top 10 Europe’s congress centers and Top 20 global congress centers by 2020.
According to Poltavchenko, tourism flows to St. Petersburg keep on growing, despite a little lull on the travel market after the April 3 terror attack in the subway. "I think it will not last for long and the year’s overall figure as far as tourism flow is concerned will be at least at the 2016 level," he said.
The city’s travel sector, in his words, demonstrated upwards dynamics in the first quarter of the current year. "Budget proceeds from the profit tax in this sector grew by about 1.6 times," he said. "It means that tourists made their contribution to the 17-percent growth in proceeds from the profit tax in St. Petersburg in the first three months."
"Since the year started even better than we anticipated, we have decided to increase St. Petersburg’s incomes in 2017 by more than 14 billion rubles (248.34 million U.S. dollars) by the second reading of the spring amendments to the budget," Poltavchenko said.
Delivering a report to the city’s Legislative Assembly in April, the governor said that the 2016 proceeds from tourism stood at 250 billion rubles (4.43 billion U.S. dollars).
Apart from that, he said he anticipates positive effects on the travel sector from the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup matches that will be played in St. Petersburg. "As for the Confederations Cup, I don’t think it will frighten off tourists. On the contrary, it will make the tourist season," he said. "Fans from around the globe will come to the city. Notably, we expect to welcome people from such far-away countries as New Zealand. It has a good potential for the future - they will tell their relatives and friends about our beautiful city."
St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2017) will be held from June 1 through 3 under the slogan Achieving a New Balance in the Global Economic Arena.
TASS is the forum’s general information partners and official photo host agency. Apart from that, the agency is an operator of the forum’s presentation zone.