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Author:  Rasboinik [ 06 Feb 2010 06:40 ]
Post subject:  St. Petersburg

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Governor Pushes for New Tax on Tourists

By Galina Stolyarova


St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko is campaigning for the introduction of a two-euro city tax to be paid by tourists visiting St. Petersburg.

The idea of imposing a tourist tax, which Matviyenko suggested should be obligatory, provoked mixed reactions among the hospitality industry players.

City Hall has not finalized the tax collection scheme, but suggested it would be logical to include it in hotel bills.

“Two euros is not a vast sum of money; those who travel here would easily be able to afford it,” said Matviyenko. “By the end of the year, though, the city should be able to raise a substantial amount of money through the tax.”

According to official statistics, 4.8 million people visited the city in 2009, including 2.3 million foreign tourists.

Yelena Kalnitskaya, director of the Peterhof museum estate, welcomed the plan. “St. Petersburg is a very special city, very attractive to visitors, and is in a strong position to introduce a tourist tax,” she said. “I expect, however, that there might be difficulties in collecting the tax. Perhaps it would be wise to impose the tax on local tour operators who work with incoming tourists and make a lot of money.”

Kalnitskaya’s view is shared by Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, who had earlier expressed the idea that local tour operators should make donations to restoration projects in the city.

Piotrovsky also suggested launching a lottery that would raise funds for the restoration of the city’s crumbling historic monuments.

Tatyana Demeneva, spokeswoman for the northwestern branch of the Russian Tourism Industry Union, said her organization was not against the tax in general, but said that members are concerned that the money raised would not be used rationally.

“Tourist taxes exist in many cities in the U.S. and Europe, so the idea is not unique,” she said. “The only thing is that in Russia, there is no guarantee that the money will not be misappropriated, as happens here all too often.”

Vladimir Gusev, director of the State Russian Museum, expressed doubts about the future of the governor’s initiative. He said he believed that the tax would work against the city, as it is likely to be viewed as yet another piece of bad news from Russia.

“Tourism is not really thriving in the city, which is infamous for its high prices,” Gusev said. “Infrastructure in the hospitality sphere leaves much to be desired: there is a shortage of mid-range hotels, not enough parking space and affordable places to eat, especially in the historic center.”

No city in Russia, however, is at liberty to impose a tourist tax without approval from the federal authorities. Matviyenko has asked her staff to produce an official draft document on the subject for the State Duma, which would have to pass a special law that would allow a tourist tax to be introduced. Alexei Chichkanov, head of City Hall’s committee for investment and strategic projects, said the draft would be sent to the Russian parliament before the end of April.

Author:  Luckyspin [ 06 Feb 2010 09:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg

Rasboinik wrote:
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Governor Pushes for New Tax on Tourists

Tatyana Demeneva, spokeswoman for the northwestern branch of the Russian Tourism Industry Union, said her organization was not against the tax in general, but said that members are concerned that the money raised would not be used rationally.

“Tourist taxes exist in many cities in the U.S. and Europe, so the idea is not unique,” she said. “The only thing is that in Russia, there is no guarantee that the money will not be misappropriated, as happens here all too often.”

Vladimir Gusev, director of the State Russian Museum, expressed doubts about the future of the governor’s initiative. He said he believed that the tax would work against the city, as it is likely to be viewed as yet another piece of bad news from Russia.

“Tourism is not really thriving in the city, which is infamous for its high prices,” Gusev said. “Infrastructure in the hospitality sphere leaves much to be desired: there is a shortage of mid-range hotels, not enough parking space and affordable places to eat, especially in the historic center.”

No city in Russia, however, is at liberty to impose a tourist tax without approval from the federal authorities. Matviyenko has asked her staff to produce an official draft document on the subject for the State Duma, which would have to pass a special law that would allow a tourist tax to be introduced. Alexei Chichkanov, head of City Hall’s committee for investment and strategic projects, said the draft would be sent to the Russian parliament before the end of April.


It's like we don't pay enough mother Russia for our Visas ... for the privilege to be allowed to visit their country and spent our money there!

Vladimir Gusev, the director of the State Russian Museum, is right when he said:

“he believed that the tax would work against the city, as it is likely to be viewed as yet another piece of bad news from Russia!”

also

“Tourism is not really thriving in the city, which is infamous for its high prices,” Gusev said. “Infrastructure in the hospitality sphere leaves much to be desired: there is a shortage of mid-range hotels, not enough parking space and affordable places to eat, especially in the historic centre.”

Prices in Russia are very expensive and the facilities they offer are of extremely low standards, except if you are prepared to pay e.g over $300 per night for a room to a decent hotel!

I think Russian politicians are stupid as they don't take a leaf from Ukraine’s decision to abolish the Visa requirement , which helped the incoming tourism to increase tenfold! :(

Author:  Rasboinik [ 06 Feb 2010 09:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg

From the Telegraph.
Moscow hotels are the world's most expensive
Hotels in Moscow have been revealed as the world’s most expensive for a fifth consecutive year.

Read all about it! Read all about it!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/7157457/Moscow-hotels-are-the-worlds-most-expensive.html

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