KAZAN, October 17 (Itar-Tass) - The number of foreign tourists visiting Russia in January-June exceeded one million people, growing 17% year-on-year, Zhanna Yakovleva from the United Nations World Tourism Organization told a forum on Thursday.
She also said Russia’s revenues from foreign tourism grew by 20% during the same period of time. Expenses of Russian tourists abroad grew 22% in the first six months of this year as compared with 2012, Yakovleva added.
“If we want to see more tourists in Russia, we must think about easing visa rules,” she added. “Russia boasts a huge number of monuments of culture and history, a lot of other riches that foreigners want to see, but visa difficulties they face become a deterrent to the flow of tourists,” Yakovleva said.
She reminded the forum that “last year the number of international tourists made up one billion people, while the number of domestic tourists grew to five billion people”.
In the first half of this year, the number of international travelers grew five%, amounting to 500 million people. According to forecasts of the World Tourism Organization, their number will grow to 1.8 billion people by 2030.