Developing tourism in the capital
For Moscow, tourism is one of the key spheres for the export and import of services, Moscow Minister and Head of the Moscow Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations (MDEEIR) Sergey Cheremin said during his speech at the “Tourism Cash Flows: Exporting Tourism” business session during the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
“In 2017, 21.6 million people visited Moscow and spent about 860 billion rubles in the Russian capital. This amounts to about 4% of Moscow’s gross regional product. We haven’t yet reached our potential, and are severely underestimating it. Our goal is to bring this figure up to 8-10% by 2020,” he said.
However, it would be a mistake to talk about the development of tourism without understanding that it entails an entire hospitality industry that cannot exist and develop separately from other sectors of the capital’s economy, the Minister noted. Right now, Moscow is focusing on an integrated approach and is doing everything possible to create a comfortable atmosphere for our guests: the city is undergoing improvements, there are developments in transport infrastructure, hotels are being erected. “Right now, there are about 73,000 hotel rooms in Moscow, but even this is not enough, which is what we realized prior to the World Cup, which will be starting on June 14,” Mr. Cheremin said.
At the same time, investments in transport infrastructure, the metro, above-ground public transport, creating a comfortable healthcare system, creating clear street signs in foreign languages, setting up info points, and many other measures are already yielding results. The Minister pointed out that the “Journey into Christmas” festival alone brought about 14 billion rubles into the city budget, and about 14 million guests visited various festival sites.
According to Mr. Cheremin, an additional factor that will help increase the number of foreign tourists in Moscow could be an initiative to introduce short-term visits that don’t require visas. “For example, the experiment in China yielded unique results within just 5 days. Transit tourists would enjoy spending time in Moscow during the day and would have great impressions. All of this would have a big positive effect on the city budget,” he said. Oleg Safonov, Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, took part in the business session organized with support from the MDEEIR.
Right before the opening of SPIEF, the forum organizers hosted a reception. During the event, the first Prize for International Cooperation and Foreign Economic Activity, established by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Kommersant Publishing House and the Moscow Center for International Cooperation, was awarded for the first time. Minister of the Moscow Government and Head of the MDEEIR Sergey Cheremin was the recipient of the award in the “leadership in the development of foreign economic and international relations with the largest macro regions and mega-cities of the world, foreign partners and foreign investors” nomination category.
“This award is for all of my colleagues from the Moscow government, for everybody who helps us strengthen international ties and build external economic relations for the Russian capital, to make it appealing for investors under such tough circumstances,” the head of the MDEEIR said, answering questions from journalists.
Other recipients of the award included Managing Partner at Ernst & Young Russia Alexander Ivlev, President of Vi Holding Group Vitaly Machitski, Deputy Director at TV channel “Rossiya” Sergey Brilev, and others.