According to preliminary data from the Russian Union of Tourism, the tourist flow to St. Petersburg amounted to about 6 million tourists last year. This was announced by the Russian Tourism Union’ expert council.
“According to preliminary estimates, in 2021 the tourist flow to St. Petersburg will be about 6 million vacationers. At the same time, almost 96% of these were Russian citizens,” stated the union.
According to the data, in 2021 St. Petersburg welcomed only 250 thousand foreign tourists (4.1% of the total number of guests), despite the fact that in 2019 they accounted for about half of the tourist flow.
International Tourism Yet to Recover
As Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg, explained, this is because international tourism has not yet been able to recover due to the pandemic. According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourism has dropped by 76% compared to 2019.
“St. Petersburg, as one of the most popular cities in Russia and Europe among foreign tourists, fully feels the complexity of the lack of recovery of international tourism. This remains the main challenge for the city, which before the pandemic received 10.5 million tourists, of which half were foreign tourists from all regions of the world,” he added.
According to experts in the tourism industry, the beginning of the revival of full-fledged international tourism can begin in the event of mutual recognition of vaccines by countries.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Regarding domestic tourism, industry representatives note positive trends - the tourist flow is stabilizing, with new destinations and offers for travelers appearing. In 2021, St. Petersburg was visited by about twice as many tourists as in 2020, when the tourist flow was less than 3 million people.
“Even amid the challenges of the pandemic, tourism brought about 234 billion rubles to the economy of St. Petersburg in 2021. This is a significant contribution not only to the city's economy but also to employment - wages, preservation and creation of jobs. About 400 thousand residents of the city are somehow connected by their incomes with the hospitality industry,“ Korneev concluded.