St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said this in the interview with RIA Novosti before the upcoming working visit to the Sapporo city on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
‘For promotion of St. Petersburg on the Japanese tourism market, we are considering the possibility of opening the Visit Petersburg office on Hokkaido similarly with existing representations in many countries,’ said Georgy Poltavchenko, ‘I also hope that the visit of tour operators and journalists from Sapporo to St. Petersburg planned for autumn will attract attention to our city and, as a result, will affect the growth of the tourist flow.’
According to the governor, ‘Over 24.5 thousand Japanese tourists visited St. Petersburg in 2017, it is a lot, but… it does not correspond to potential.’ Georgy Poltavchenko also noted that ‘We are considering the issue of the 72-hour visa form application now, which is currently valid for cruise ship passengers and air travelers. Along with this, the possibility of introducing electronic visas is being discussed. This will certainly contribute an increase in tourist traffic and will help to develop business, congress and sports tourism in St. Petersburg. According to UNWTO calculations, simplification of the visa process will increase the tourist flow to the Northern Capital by 30 percent. Also the organization of direct air communication with the largest cities of Asia and geographical expansion of flights to other regions of the world are important incentives here.’