Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, should be on every travel enthusiast’s list. With a population of 5 million people, the bustling, vibrant city has much to offer to tourists and visitors looking to immerse themselves in Russia’s intriguing culture.
In an exclusive interview with TE, Ms Olga Rendino, the Deputy General Director of St Petersburg Tourism and Ms Asya Sattarova the Industry Development Manager of St. Petersburg Tourism, discuss St. Petersburg’s allure as a tourist destination, what makes it an ideal place for millennials and how the city wants to promote itself in the future.
St. Petersburg: The cultural capital of Russia
St. Petersburg’s most defining attribute is the fact that it is Russia’s cultural hub. “We won the WTA (World Travel Awards) award last year for being Europe’s No.1 cultural capital,” said Ms Olga. She continued to add that the city is teeming with rich cultural experiences that will enrich tourists and make them appreciate the city for all that it has to offer. The architecture is especially striking in the city, perfectly blending the modern and the classic.
Aside from leisure tourism, St. Petersburg also hosts corporate events and MICE groups. The convention centre deals with corporate clients while the touristic centre handles individual leisure trips.
How St.Petersburg is using the digital platform to boost tourism
“We closely work with social media tools to help reach out to tourists and promote St. Petersburg. We’re on all major social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter,” informs Ms Asya. The city also has an online resource named ‘Visit Petersberg’ that offers a detailed city guide for tourists looking for any kind of information about the cosmopolitan city.
While the digital platform is utilised thoroughly, the tourism board reaches out to traditional forms of media like newspapers and television to promote St. Petersburg as a tourist destination. Additionally, a press tour is organised for journalists and media professionals twice a year. These individuals are given an exhaustive tour of the city. “We show them all the important sites, monuments and landmarks so they have a better understanding of St. Petersburg,” said Ms Olga.
Indian tourists are a huge market for St. Petersburg
St.Petersburg is Russia’s leading tourist destination both for leisure travel and MICE events. Ms Olga says “The city sees all kinds of tourists. In fact, Indians come in huge numbers to St. Petersburg. There’s been a 10% growth in the last few years in the Indian tourism segment.” Additionally, Ms Asya highlighted an important trend about Indian travellers in St. Petersburg. She said: “From what we’ve noticed, Indians tend to travel with their family in big groups as compared to other Asian tourists.”
St. Petersburg is also an ideal millennial destination
“We are a very cosmopolitan city which is why we would definitely appeal to millennials,” said Ms Olga. St. Petersburg has a variety of activities for the curious millennial traveller- there’s entertainment, sports, music and lots more. Ms Asya added, “English is spoken widely in St. Petersburg which is a major advantage since the youth today are very comfortable with speaking English.” The city also has affordable accommodation for the budget-friendly millennials.
While St. Petersburg is a wonderful destination to visit, the Northern Caucasus within Russia is an offbeat location to stop by and explore. Ms Galina Komissarova (Adviser to Director General, Caucasus) said: “There’s a lot of adventure activities for young people to explore here that include skating, cycling, and motorbiking. We’re looking forward to attracting a younger demographic to the Northern Caucasus.”
According to a Lonely Planet report earlier this month, visiting St. Petersburg might become a lot more convenient. The city is planning on allowing citizens from 53 countries to enter the country with a free e-visa. The new move is expected to significantly boost tourism and attract nearly 12 million tourists each year.