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ST. PETERSBURG, October 10. /TASS/. The majority of tourists travelling to countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the association of former Soviet republics, are Russians, tourist officials said on Friday.
“In Belarus, revenues from Russian tourism business account for 62.3% of the money from tourism services exports,” the country’s deputy sports and tourism minister, Cheslav Shulga, told representatives of tourism agencies and governments of four CIS countries attending a session of the CIS Tourism Council in St. Petersburg.
Many of the Russian visitors to Belarus come for the purpose of attaining medical services or to attend major events such as the Ice Hockey World Championship, Shulga said, adding that Belarusian citizens also travelled to Russia quite often. Moscow, St. Petersburg and Smolensk were among the most visited cities, he said.
“CIS citizens account for more than a half of tourist flows in Armenia. About 90% of them are Russians,” said Armenia's chief adviser to the economy minister, Ara Petrosyan, predicting the volume to grow by 200,000 this year from more than one million making the journey in 2013.
Azerbaijan was visited by 2.5 million foreign guests last year, said the deputy head of the tourism department at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Rauf Pashayev, noting that most of travellers were also from Russia.