MOSCOW, July 30. (Itar-Tass) - A record number of tourists, at least 5.5 million people, is expected in Moscow this year, Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at a session of the city government on Tuesday. “Last year we achieved a record figure - the number of tourists exceeded five million people. According to the forecasts, this year we will have half a million more,” Sobyanin said.
The acting head of the Moscow Tourism and Hotel Committee, Sergei Shpilko, said that last year the State Statistics Service estimated the number of tourists to be at 5.1 million: the figure increased by 13% since 2011. Moreover, this five million estimate does not take into account hostels and mini hotels, whose guests increase the figure to six million,” Shpilko said.
He marked that development of hotels of this format, previously unpopular in Moscow, “has become a trend of the recent years”. There are 235 hostels and mini hotels which can accommodate 12,000 guests in Moscow at the moment. “20 such hotels have opened this year, including those of new types for Moscow; for example a capsule hotel on Tverskaya Street, an eco-hostel in Kitai Gorod and so on,” Shpilko said. Overall, 22 hotels with 867 guest rooms were put in operation in Moscow last year, and this year another 28 hotels with 2,200 hotel rooms will open. “Novotel in Moscow City business center and Kempinski on Nikolskaya Street are already accommodating tourists,” the official said.
According to Shpilko, hotel revenues have grown by almost 11 billion rubles over the past two years, amounting to 49 billion rubles. Tax revenues from the hotel industry have grown by 70 million roubles to 7.3 billion rubles, of which 1.5 billion rubles went to the city budget.
Shpilko said basic elements of hospitality services and infrastructure expected by tourists from other European cities have been created in Moscow. “Five tourist information centers have been opened, including three at railway terminals and one at Vnukovo Airport. A new center will be opened at the Leningradsky Railway Station in August,” he added.
New tourist routes, including pedestrian, bicycle and river bus routes, are launched in Moscow hoping to attract more tourists. “This year there will be more than 150 of these routes,” the official noted. He reminded that last year hop-on/hop-off buses were launched in the city; this month three new buses and two river cruise ships have been added to the routes.
According to Shpilko, every six months the Moscow Tourism Committee renews tourist handbooks and event calendars, which are distributed at information centers and hotels. City guides with new routes and pedestrian areas will be issued soon as well. The total circulation of these guidebooks has increased from 370,000 last year to 3.5 million this year.