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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, February 19, (ITAR-TASS) - The inflow of foreign tourists to Russia’s most eastern Kamchatka almost doubled in 2013. While in 2012, the peninsula welcomed 6,536 foreign tourists, in 2013 - 11,359, the regional tourism authority told Itar-Tass.
Most tourists come from Japan, the United States, Germany, the UK, Austria and France. They visit the peninsula during sea cruises. Last summer and autumn the port in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky served 14 cruise liners. The growing inflow of foreign tourists became possible also with introduction of six chartered flights from Japan. Besides, between June and September the Yakutia aviation carrier made weekly flights connecting Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Anchorage /the US, Alaska/. A chartered flight last year was offered to Kamchatka from Paris in October.
The number of Russian tourists who visited Kamchatka in 2013 was 22,000. Another 20,000 residents of Kamchatka used tourist services on the peninsula. The total number of Russian travellers participating in programmes grew by 2,000 year-on-year, the authority reports.
It occupies the area of 470,000 square kilometres, which equals the size of France, Belgium and Luxembourg combined, and separates the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. One should not confuse Kamchatka with Siberia; this name is used for the peninsula itself and the closest part of the continent, including Karaginsky Island and the Komandorsky Archipelago. The mountain ridges - Sredinny, Valaginsky, Ganalsky and Kumroch - stretch from the north to the south giving the peninsula the shape of a giant fish. There are more than 160 volcanoes on the peninsula (29 of them are active), due to the fact that it lies on the Great Pacific “ring of fire”.
Volcanoes and volcanic peaks, cyclones and underground heat created here a mixture of twenty climate zones and a great variety of flora and fauna. But the main attractions of Kamchatka are volcanic calderas, stone sculpture “parks” and lakes in craters, geysers and mineral springs, all in pristine condition. Visitors enjoy interesting tourist routs, hiking, helicopter rides, sea trips, fishing and hunting.