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MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow expects the biggest tourist flow in 2013 from China, Sergei Shpilko, the acting head of the city tourism and hospitality committee, said on Thursday.
Last year, in his words, Germany ranked first in terms of the number of tourists visiting the Russian capital city (about 330,000). Tourists from China were second (260,000). “But this year, China is going to be ranked first, since tourist flow from that country is constantly growing by more than 40 percent,” he told the Moskva 24 television channel. “It is very important for us because the current mainstream tendencies on the global tourism market are the movement of tourist flows from Southeast Asia, i.e. from the region, which is demonstrating tendencies typical of Russia of the early 1990s, when people began to travel a lot.”
“The struggle for these tourist flows is fierce - everyone wants to have these travelers,” he noted. “And Moscow is doing better that its rivals. We have a big air hub, moreover, we are halfway to Europe and are actively working on the Chinese market.”
According to Shpilko, next after Germany and China are France, the United States, and Israel. The majority of foreign tourists come to Moscow in tourist groups to stay here for a couple of days. “As a rule, the program features the Kremlin, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts or the Tretyakov Gallery, the Vorobyovy Hills, and the Novodevichy Convent,” he noted. ‘Then tourists have some spare time to have a stroll along Arbat Street.” As for Chinese tourists, “they are mostly interested to see Lenin’s Mausoleum, to hear about Moscow’s history, especially of the Soviet era,” he added.
According to the city tourism and hospitality committee, as many as 5.1 million tourists visited Moscow in 2012. “These are people who were accommodated at Moscow’s hotels, but if we add those accommodated at mini hotels and hostels, the figure will near six million,” Shpilko said.