St Petersburg tourism, as in all of Russia, has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet Times. Firstly, tourism in St Petersburg grew through local tourism and more recently through international tourism.
Once a swamp, today one of the world's great metropolises, Saint Petersburg is considered the grand gateway to Russia and its unique cultural treasures.
Included in the UNESCO list of sites with world cultural legacy for its elegant architecture dating to the 18-19th centuries, triumphant monuments and interesting museums along with a vast wealth of art and history, there is no doubt that the imperial city is the most important cultural city of Russia, and maybe the world.
As a result of that millions of international tourists have already visited Saint Petersburg from Finland, Germany, the USA, Sweden, Italy and France as well as Korea, Thailand, Japan and China (all leading countries), and the list probably may grow in the near future, though things can also change at the last minute due to the current political tensions.
We hope not of course!
In 2005, when 3.5 million tourists came to the city, the Russian government set a target of attracting five million tourists by 2010, which it succeeded in doing.
In fact, from 2006 to 2010 the government invested in a development program for tourism, that cost about 519 million rubles ($670 000 000), in order to improve the infrastructure of the city, open new hotels and many other facilities for tourists.
On the other hand, the contribution of tourists to the city's economy in the form of direct costs (excluding the cost of coming to St Petersburg), based on the city government report in 2010, was more than 115 billion rubles.
New investments for the incoming years are right now underway!
As a result of the Russian government investment, and according to the committee for investments and strategic projects of St Petersburg, in 2014 the imperial city was visited by six million tourists, which was an increase of 8% compared to the previous year.
More than 2.6 million foreign travellers visited the city, with an increase of 13% from the previous years. Another 2.9 million Russian tourists came to St Petersburg, an increase of 3.5% compared to 2013 and 2014.
In 2014 the city set a new target of 8.1 million tourists by 2016 and announced a plan to make the North capital of Russia more tourist-friendly.
Due to the large government
development program over the past years, the gigantic historical value of our imperial city and the
new Russian visa free travel option, Saint Petersburg truly has become the most visited Russian city and one of the best tourist centers of Europe.
As a proof of that, the city of Peter the Great today
ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, along with Paris, London and Berlin. It became listed as the Travelers' Choice 2013 Winner in Trip Advisor for the top ten best destinations in Russia, and is becoming more and more popular across the world year after year.
Moreover, with upcoming events, such as the FIFA Confederation Cup in 2017 and the World Cup the year after, we are sure that St Petersburg tourism will grow even more and, consequently, the cities international popularity will increase by a large percentage too.
So, we are wondering now... When will you come?
If you have not been to the amazing city of St Petersburg yet, then you should really come!
Don't be misled by the negative propaganda or funny myths you may have heard in the past or just recently from the Western media. Leave the political turmoils or anything related apart and only think about your Russian trip. Don't be afraid, but take the plunge like many other travellers have already done and discover this little gem in complete serenity.
We're sure you won’t regret it!☺
Written by Davide C.