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Russian tourists to Norway doubled

Norway, Estonia and Sweden are the countries with largest increase of Russian tourists.

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Almost 14,5 million Russian citizens traveled abroad with tourists purposes in 2011 which is 15 percent more than the year before, shows the statistics from Russian Agency for Tourism.

25.580 Russians traveled to Norway as tourists last year, twice more than the year before. Also Sweden and Estionia had a doubling of tourists from Russia.

The growth of popularity of Northern European destinations among Russian tourists could be explained by descending attractiveness of traditional travel ways. Thus, Egypt lost more than 1/3 of Russian tourists in 2011 and Tunisia lost almost 20 percent. Other experts explain the growth of tourists travels to Norway, Sweden and Estonia by opening of regular ferry connection from St. Petersburg last year.
Governmental support is needed.

The positive tendencies in Russian-Norwegian tourism development are going to be supported on the governmental level. Last week the issues of tourism development were discussed on the meeting of the Russian-Norwegian Commission on economic, industrial and scientific cooperation in Moscow. On this meeting the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism and the Department of Tourism of “Innovation Norway” signed the “Program of joint actions in the field of tourism” which promises to give a new impulse for bilateral cooperation between Norway and Russia in this sector. The Program includes such actions as branding of local tour products, training of specialists for tourism industry, protection of the right of tourists etc., reports www.russiatourism.ru 

The special attention on the meeting was paid to the tourism development in the Northern regions. As it was mentioned on the meeting one of the most perspective directions here is development of regular cruise lines connecting Northern Norway and Murmansk oblast. The biggest Norwegian cruise operator “Hurtigruten” showed an interest to prolong its popular cruise route from Bergen-Kirkenes to Murmansk. This may happen if the Russian federal and local authorities would be able to build necessary port infrastructure. Nowadays the Ministry of transport and communications of Murmansk oblast and the Federal Agency of sea and river transport together with private investors are working on the mechanism of realization of the project “Arctic Harbor”. This project can bring up to 50.000 of cruise tourists to this area, estimates the Murmansk administration.  

Text: Andrey Shalyov