Russia is not ready for the growth of domestic and inbound tourism as the country still has bad roads and undeveloped infrastructure, Vitaly Mutko, the Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy said in a statement.
“We take 53rd place for competiveness. The revenue from the tourism amounts to 2.5 percent of GDP”, Mutko said.
According to the minister, accommodation is also an issue hampering inbound tourism in Russia.
Russia, which abounds in UNESCO's world heritage sites, historical monuments, cathedrals and more enjoys the status of being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In fact, the country has seen unprecedented growth in outbound tourism in the last few years. However, according to industry experts, the country's inbound tourism is not marketed well and so the arrival of foreign tourists is very less comparatively.
“In the first place it’s necessary to understand why the tourists should visit Russia. Certainly, we have St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Golden Ring – people come to visit architectural monuments, churches. However, Russia needs advertising campaign for domestic and inbound tourism,” Ilya Umanskiy, General Director of Alean-tour - a member of Russian union of tourism industry, was quoted as saying in local media.
The country is looking forward to bank upon sports tourism to up foreign tourist arrivals with Winter Olympics 2014 and FIFA World Cup 2018 scheduled be held in Russia. While the tourism officials foresee such international events to be paving way towards development of infrastructure, Russia's strict visa rules and lack of direct connectivity with the country are also seen as hurdles to inbound tourism growth.
The country has been trying to end visa restrictions between Russia and EU nations for quite some time now. Recently, Russia tightened visa rules for EU citizens reciprocating the strict visa norms issued for Russians traveling to the European Union countries that drew wide criticism.