'The reservation of hotel rooms in St. Petersburg will be suspended for the period of the city's 300th anniversary celebrations,' announced Russian Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Vladimir Strzhalkovsky on Tuesday in an interview with Rosbalt.
He explained that between May 15 and June 5, 2003 a large number of foreign delegations are expected in St. Petersburg. These will be accompanied by journalists and technical support staff, making a possible total of 12-15 thousand guests. 'In connection with this, the Ministry of Economic Development has appealed to the main hotels of the city to stop taking reservations for this period,' said Strzhalkovsky.
The deputy minister added that the situation is further complicated by the fact that the anniversary will be held during the White Nights, when there will be a mass influx of tourists into the city. That is why, according to Strzhalkovsky, 'a complete inventory of the city's and region's hotel rooms is currently being compiled'. In addition, the deputy head of the Ministry of Economic Development noted that 'tourist firms must inform their foreign and Russian partners about the limited sale of tour packages to St. Petersburg for the city's 300th anniversary celebrations'.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969