30% more Chinese tourists expected to visit Russian capital in 2024: Moscow tourism official

By Chu Daye (Global Times) 13:21, May 25, 2024

A Chinese tourist takes pictures on the street of Moscow on May 24, 2024. Photo: Chu Daye/ GT

A Chinese tourist takes pictures on the streets of Moscow on May 24, 2024. Photo: Chu Daye/GT

There could be a significant increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the Russian capital this year, due to the enhanced level of cooperation among bilateral industry participants following Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent state visit to China, a Moscow tourism official told the Global Times.

Russia has become a rising tourist destination for Chinese tourists in the wake of the pandemic. Last year, the number of Chinese visitors to the Russian capital saw a fivefold increase from that of 2022.

"A record level of 244,000 Chinese tourists visited Moscow in 2023, people came to Moscow directly from China on 55 flights per week from different Chinese cities. And I think it is still not enough," Evgeny Kozlov, chairman of the Moscow City Tourism Committee, told the Global Times on Thursday local time.

"It is difficult to predict the percentage of increase after Russian president's visit to China along with the intensive negotiations between top economic and trade officials from both sides," Kozlov said. "I predict there will be an increase in figures as a result of a boost in trust and confidence between commercial tourism companies between the two sides."

Kozlov noted that there may be an annual growth of 10 percent in the number of Chinese tourists to Moscow. "Counting the confidence booster effective, the figure could be 20 or 30 percent as the year unfolds," Kozlov said.

Russia has since last year offered a series of travel facilitation measures to Chinese tourists including a more accommodating visa policy making it easier for Chinese tourists to arrive in Russia in groups. Visas can now be issued in five days.

Experts said despite some difficulties faced by Chinese tourists, including safety concerns, the vast potential of China-Russia tourism industry cooperation may help the realization of fast growth figures.

The two countries are holding a China-Russia Year of Culture and Moscow for the first time hosted big events dedicated to the Chinese New Year in February.

Currently, many Chinese tourists to Russia are business people seeking opportunities who take in the sights during their trip. The Global Times reported in December that an unexpectedly large number of aurora-seeking Chinese tourists flooded the Russian Arctic port city Murmansk in winter, overloading the local tourism sector in a sign of the vast potential of the Chinese market as a tourist source country.

To beef up capacity, Kozlov told the Global Times that Moscow tourism authority plans to increase the number of licensed Chinese-speaking tour guides to 500 by the end of 2024 from the current 100 to meet market demand.

The Moscow City Tourism Committee also intensified its promotion efforts to the Chinese market by doubling the number of roadshows in China. On top of roadshows to be held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, roadshows will also be hosted in cities of Chengdu and Chongqing in Southwest China and Harbin in Northeast China in the following months.

Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Friday that tourism, along with culture, arts and sports, is an indispensable component in further deepening bilateral ties and cooperation.

Despite some concerns posed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and some other difficulties, Song said bilateral tourism activity will continue to mount to new heights given the continuous strengthening of strategic ties, Russia's unique tourist resources and stable prices, and enhanced cooperation among Chinese and Russian localities.

Russian President Putin's popularity among the Chinese people is also a favorable card for the Russian tourism industry in the effort to woo Chinese tourists, Song said.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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