ST. PETERSBURG, October 9. /TASS/. The tourist flow to Russia from South Korea, Iran, Arab states and countries of the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is growing at a high pace, Deputy Culture Minister Alla Manilova told reporters on Friday, sounding an optimistic note on inbound tourism on the whole.
She said the growth was 40 to 200% Assumptions that Asian tourists were spending less than European tourists were wrong, the official noted.
"For example, tourists arriving in Russia from Iran spend much money, but they are more exigent as to the quality of excursions, cultural programs," she said, noting that European tourists preferred more budget-oriented tours.
She also said the interest of western tourists in Russia was on the rise once again. "The flow of tourists from Western Europe declined in 2014 and keeps declining, but we have numerous reports from tour operators about a growing interest and booking of tours from France, Italy and Germany in the third and fourth quarters of the year," she said.
As an example she cited "an excellent result" shown by Russia’s national tourism office in Helsinki that opened in July and sold more than 2,500 tours to Russia in the first two months.
Manilova also said that a thinning flow of tourists from Europe was compensated by growing numbers of Asian tourists, first of all from China. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Russia grew 19% in the first half of the year, she specified.
Tours connected with the Russian revolution were worked out to increase the numbers of Chinese tourists. The Culture Ministry also considered the routes devoted to the Silk Road another promising direction to attract more Chinese tourists.
"On the whole, the situation with inbound tourism looks quite positive," she said.