RF Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade Vladimir Strzhalkovsky says, reservation of hotel rooms is to be stopped for the period of St.Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebration. In his words, a great number of foreign delegations is expected to arrive in St.Petersburg within the period of May 15 – June 5, 2003; the total number of official guests, delegation members, journalists, and operating staff can make up 12-15 thousand people.
The deputy minister pointed out that the situation was even more complicated, because the anniversary will coincide with the famous White Nights of St.Petersburg, when mass tourist groups usually arrive in the city. That is why tourist companies are recommended to inform their clients of limited tour sales for the period of St.Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebration. To tell the truth, the problem of tourist accommodations is always urgent in St.Petersburg; therefore, it is not ruled out that many people will not participate in the celebration for accommodation reasons. If you visit St.Petersburg, but at the same time have not much money to reserve a room at the Astoria or Nevsky Palace hotels, you can apartments or rooms offered by St.Petersburg residents right at the railway station as soon as you arrive.
The past 10-15 years were devoted to turning St.Petersburg into a tourism center for people to come and admire the White Nights. However, when accommodation problem is still very urgent in the city, and many tourists prefer not to go to St.Petersburg because of high hotel prices or because the reservation of hotel rooms has been already stopped for the celebration. A rather strange construction was recently built in St.Petersburg: it is kind of a clock face showing how much time is left before the 300th anniversary. People thought at first that the authorities ordered to construct it because they were just looking forward to the celebration. But now, the true meaning of the clock is clear: time shown is the time left for tourists to see the St.Petersburg sights and go home, as long as hotels and return tickets are available. Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/culture/2002/07/23/44559.html