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YALTA, August 17. /TASS/. Vacationing in Russia should be comfortable, interesting and cheap, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
The Russian president spoke at a meeting of the State Council held in Crimea to discuss the development of tourism in Russia.
"It is very important to take into account all these issues so that vacationing in Russia can be comfortable, interesting and advantageous. And the tourism sector should generate noticeable budget revenues and stimulate the creation of new jobs and serve as a catalyst for social and economic growth of Russian regions, open new possibilities for single-industry towns, rural settlements, northern and Arctic territories of Russia, Siberia and the Far East. And, of course, this is topical for Crimea," Putin said.
Tight competition for tourist flows can be seen throughout the world. In some countries, 80% of local residents are involved in internal tourism, the Russian president said.
"Let us say directly: we were behind, far behind in this competition for a long time, first of all, due to insufficiently developed tourist infrastructure and the low quality of services," the head of the Russian state said.
But the situation is gradually changing, even if slowly, Putin said.
Thus, 41.5 million people travelled across Russia in 2014, which showed a growth of 30% Meanwhile, inbound tourism increased by 16%, he said.
The current economic situation in Russia and the exchange rate differences are also playing their role as "it has become more expensive, of course, to spend vacations in many foreign countries," Putin said.
However, positive changes have taken place in Russia’s tourist industry, he added.
In particular, the Black Sea city of Sochi has become an all-season resort of world class without any exaggeration, the Russian president said.
The number of hotels in Russia has increased to 16,000 from 7,000 since the time of the USSR. The hotel sector involves about 400,000 people, he said.
The capacity of the Kerch ferry link between mainland Russia and Crimea has been increased, the Russian president said.
Also, Simferopol airport receives airliners from 50 Russian cities, including in nighttime, he said, reminding the State Council members of the airport reconstruction plans.
The Russian president said he hoped these plans would be carried through.