Fifteen percent of the world's population knows about St. Petersburg, according to UNESCO. As reported by a Rosbalt correspondent, that figure was cited by the vice-president of RST, Sergei Korneev, at a press conference entitled 'Development of Tourism in St. Petersburg.'
According to Korneev, St. Petersburg ranks eighth worldwide in terms of its attraction for tourists, which is comparable to London and Paris. St. Petersburg outranks Prague, Berlin and Munich in terms of fame. Korneev also said that St. Petersburg is more attractive to tourists than is Moscow, although more foreigners know about the Russian capital.
'Petersburg's popularity was helped by the 300-year jubilee, when the number of tourists compared to 2002 grew by 15%,' Korneev said. 'This year there won't be such an influx of tourists.' He said that part of the reason was that tourists were attracted by major events, and that this year the world's attention would be focused on the Olympic Games in Athens.
Some participants at the press conference expressed the view that the northern capital suffers from seasonality in the tourism industry. They consider that the problem can be resolved by developing the city's recreational facilities, building water parks and other recreational complexes.
More than 3 million foreign tourists visited St. Petersburg in 2003. The greatest number came from Finland. In second place were the Americans, Germans came in third, while the French and Italians ranked fourth and fifth respectively.