How important is India for St Petersburg?
Before the pandemic, the number of tourists from India to St Petersburg made it amongst the Top 15 markets. Now, after the pandemic, again we are seeing the great interest in Indian tourists towards Russia and we have seen the tourist flow going up 15 pc yearly, notwithstanding the time of the pandemic. I expect that this year, India will be in our Top 10 markets and we have an ambitious plan for it to be one of the Top 5.
What are the key tourism segments that you cater to?
St Petersburg has diversity and we have plenty of offers for tourists.We have wedding tourism and we see that interest among our Indian partners to make St Petersburg a perfect wedding destination. We have a wide range of hotels and the highest level of event organisation, so we can hold any kind of event. Congress and exhibition facilities are also at the highest level, as you know we hold global level events with top public officials from different countries. Medical and event tourism is also highly developed. We have a fine gastronomy and a lot of people admit it, they come on weekends just to visit a restaurant to eat.
To sum it up, I think every tourist will find something to their liking. But most importantly, every tourist will feel the atmosphere of St Petersburg is attractive, that they would want to come back again and again.
What is the response from the Indian market?
It is worth noting the interest for Russia in Indian tour operators. During roadshows, they have shown great interest in our product. And they had good meetings with their counterparts from St Petersburg. Now, we have to finalise the contracts for the Indian market so that tourists can come.
What is your latest joint promotion with Moscow City?
We have launched a joint promotional campaign with the Moscow City government, which is called, Two Cities, A Million Impressions.This is an interesting joint project that will attract both kinds of tourists, Russians and international tourists, at the same time. Through this campaign, we hope to have the international tourists stay longer in the country and show them two different facets of Russia.
What about air connectivity?
There are several direct flights from Moscow to St Petersburg. And it is worth saying that we have direct flights with the largest transport hubs, such as Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, and others. So, we have no logistic problems, we can reach St Petersburg quite easily.
What is the potential for cruise tourism in St Peterburg?
St Petersburg is the capital of water tourism. We have the Baltic Sea, rivers and canals, with tall bridges, and of course, water tourism is well developed in the city. You can have a short trip along the rivers and canals by boat or choose long retreats by cruise. There are a lot of waterways and we will give you a lot of impressions and memories. I think that will be very interesting for Indian travellers.