At the discussion session of the Committee for the Development of Tourism of St. Petersburg the results of interregional cooperation and plans for the further development were announced, including the main tourist projects such as “Silver Necklace of Russia” and “Two cities – millions of impressions: #PetersburgMoscow”.
Lyubov Sovershaeva, Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Northwestern Federal District, emphasized the implementation of the ideas and goals of the Silver Necklace of Russia project. New transport routes have appeared that have connected regions and major tourist centers, the infrastructure has been created and new points of attraction for tourists are being formed.
“The numbers show that we are practically reaching the indicators of 2019 before the pandemic. First of all it was facilitated by the already well-developed infrastructure and cashback program. According to scientists and experts, the Silver Necklace of Russia project has significant long-term potential for the subjects of the Northwestern Federal District. An increase in the share of tourism in the total GRP in the district may reach 5% by 2025, and 10% by 2035 (1.6 trillion rubles). It seems to me that if we do this we will see a serious social and economic effect for the territories and citizens of those regions: the infrastructure development, the budget increase, the creation of new jobs”, said Lyubov Sovershaeva. She also underlined the necessity to continue an active work on the project.
According to Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of Saint-Petersburg, executive secretary of the working group for the development of the historical, cultural and tourist project "Silver Necklace of Russia", the North-West project is a kind of "travel constructor" and the basis for the tourism development in the regions. “At this stage, the working group has developed a roadmap and tour operators receive various proposals – from short city breaks to the longer programs of 3/5/7/14 days. All this is elaborated in cooperation with the executive bodies, travel agencies, regional tourism business, regions of the Russian Federation and federal business."
Korneev also noted that while the whole world is fighting for the tourist flows after the pandemic, the main task of the Russian tourism businesses is not to compete, but act together. “The synergy of the Silver Necklace, supported by our alliance with Moscow, should give results this year first in the Russian and then in the international market. Sergey Korneev concluded that the main goal is to make sure that tourists wish to stay longer and come back again in the future.
Andrey Nikitin, Governor of the Novgorod region, considered that cooperative work on the development of tourism in the regions has already shown its effectiveness. There has been established the municipal tourist standard for promoting tourism facilities in the Novgorod region.
“All tourist attractions should have selfie points, Wi-Fi, an Instagram account both in Russian and English. It also important to provide an easy access to the places where visitors can have meals and accomodation, as well as street signs and directions in Russian and English. We have adopted this standard and we provide additional funding for the development of tourism infrastructure to the municipalities that comply with it. We also include these places in the tourist route”, he added.
Alexander Potekhin, Chairman of the Association of Mass Media of the North-West, suggested how to attract tourists after the pandemic. “This is a test for us whether we will be able to meet the deferred demand and to attract tourists’ attention,” he said. According to Alexander, the plan is to promote tourist routes by the information campaigns, social networks and journalistic expeditions. One is already taking place in Kronstadt.
Deputy Head of Rostourism Elena Lysenkova shared new travel trends. “The modern pattern of tourist behavior is changing every year. The pandemic intensified the development of the new trends even further. Tourists want to take short and medium-term trips in the company of friends and family. We should adjust the industry to the needs of tourists and here one the key objectives is to change the approach to the tourist space. There are no regional boundaries for tourists, they want some new experience, for example, eco-tourism or active tourism. Elena Lysenkova emphasized that there are many suitable places around St. Petersburg.
The collaboration of the two capitals was on the agenda along with the promotion of the regional programs and routes. According to the experts, the collaboration campaign has proved to be successful. “Two cities – millions of impressions” – is an up-to-date product that meets the requirements of the time. We look to the future and create common win-win projects with matching events and routes. Here Moscow and St. Petersburg are not considered to be separate cities to visit, but a united mega destination that can meet any tourist demands", said Tatiana Sharshavitskaya, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on tourism of the city of Moscow.
The plan is to expand transport communication of the two capitals with the other regions by launching the Russian Railways new integrated programs. The company offers weekend tours, weekly tours in the “train-hotel” format as well as event tours.
“We have launched more than 20 cruise routes. All of the trains have their own specialties and full-fledged excursion programs. We are working on many ideas in thorough collaboration with the regional authorities. As soon as this summer we are launching the first multimodal week-long tour to Lake Baikal involving aviation and water transport”, said Elena Rakova, the First Deputy Head of the Passenger Transportation Department of the Russian Railways.
Among the most anticipated projects for the development of transport communications, the High-Speed Highway project was announced. According to the estimates of the Russian Railways, the opening of high-speed rail lines from the two capitals to the regions could attract up to 5 millions of tourists.
The following attendees also took part in the discussion session: Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia; Marika Korotaeva, co-organizer of the project “Kronstadt. Island of Forts "; Anna Yalova, Deputy Director for Development, Central Exhibition Hall "Manezh"; Marina Lipezkaya, Director of the Fund “Center for Strategic Research “North-West””; Slava Khodko, Advisor to the Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of Saint-Petersburg; Kharmik Singkh Chugkh, General manager of the company “Plan B Group”, Head of the “Visit St Petersburg” office in the Middle East. The event was moderated by Nika Strizhak, journalist, documentary film director, ambassador of St. Petersburg.