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Saint Petersburg passes visa restrictions

Submitted by Serg A Nik on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 13:02

Saint Petersburg is one of the most attractive cities in Russia for tourists from around the world. City wants to attract as much as possible tourists here. There are many interesting places for tourists in St. Petersburg. Famous museums (such as Hermitage, Russian Museum) operate for history enthusiast in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg theaters and concert halls may be interesting for art lovers. In St. Petersburg held a lot of interesting events: holidays, festivals, exhibitions and concerts. There are also many interesting places near St. Petersburg. But there are obstacles to increasing the number of tourists.

There are still not enough hotels, particularly budget hotels and mid-priced hotels In St. Petersburg. Construction of new hotels is continuing, and the problem will be solved in the future.

Neva River, photo.

One of the obstacles to visit St. Petersburg is the need to obtain a visa. Russia is trying to negotiate with the EU on visa-free regime, but the abolition of visas (for the Russians during trips to Europe and for Europeans, while visiting Russia) is unlikely.

St. Petersburg is trying to circumvent the restrictions and facilitate to visit city for foreigners. Since 2003, the tourists who come to St. Petersburg on a cruise ship may stay in the city without a visa for 72 hours. Since 2009, the same opportunity get also sea ferry passengers. This led to an increase in number of tourists. 204 thousand passengers came in St. Petersburg on cruise ships in 2003 (in 2011 456 000). At sea ferries visited St. Petersburg in 2010 53,000 tourists, in 2011 - 346 000.

The administration of St. Petersburg and Pulkovo Airport are seeking for international transit passengers the right to visa-free 72-hour stay in St. Petersburg (for those foreigners who arrive by plane). This company is also seeking "Northern Capital Gateway" - a consortium with the participation of VTB bank and the German company Fraport. Permission for visa-free entry will receive passengers who pass transit through Saint Petersburg. Similar rules are in airports in Singapore, London and China. The opportunity to visit St. Petersburg without Russian visas will be interesting for citizens of Japan, South Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries.

Pulkovo Airport will be able to take a greater number of passengers in 2014. A new terminal designed to receive 14 million passengers a year will be build in the airport of St. Petersburg.

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