In October 2020, in connection with the development of the second wave of the pandemic, the Governor of Saint Petersburg, Alexander Beglov, instructed the Committee for Tourism Development to create an additional package of measures to support the tourism industry. As a result of joint work with representatives of the professional expert community, the Committee prepared proposals for new tax benefits, that provide exemption for the years 2020 – 2021 from a number of major regional taxes of hotels, spa organizations and travel companies, as well as transport companies that carry out bus transportation on a regular or order basis.
«This year, we literally fought for the survival of the industry, having formed a whole range of anti-crisis measures - from concessional loans, subsidies and grants to SMEs to the inclusion of hospitality enterprises in the list of strategic organizations of the country and, of course, the «tourist cashback» program. However, in addition to federal tools, regional support measures are very important, creating conditions for the restoration of tourism at the local level. In this context, I consider the decision to exempt the tourism industry from key regional taxes for two years to be unprecedented. Such steps will support business in a difficult situation, will allow to keep employment and incomes of hundreds of thousands of people», - the head of Rostourism, Zarina Doguzova commented.
«The main goal for Saint Petersburg now is to preserve the infrastructure base of the industry, primarily the modern hospitality infrastructure that has been formed over the past twenty years, and in the future, after the removal of covid restrictions, the restoration of a tourist flow. The main and most important condition for the city to receive the benefits provided by the amendments is the preservation of employment and professional personnel in the tourism sector», said the head of the Committee for Tourism Development, Sergey Korneev.
New support measures were adopted on 23 December in the final third reading by the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg: hotels, health resort organizations and travel companies were exempted from property tax and land tax in 2020-2021, similar taxes were abolished for landlords renting premises with an area of 500 sq.m. to hotels and sanatoriums; tourism enterprises can reduce the tax rate levied in the simplified taxation system to 1% in 2021; travel companies and transport companies that carry out bus transportation on a regular or order basis and are SMEs are exempt from paying transport tax in 2020-2021, providing that the average salary of their employees is not lower than the minimum salary in Saint Petersburg (19 thousand rubles).
In addition, 15 tourist organizations from Saint Petersburg, supported by the Committee for Tourism of Saint Petersburg, received grants from Rostourism on17 December, totaling 40 million rubles.
A complex approach to tourism support should help to restore the economy of not only the hospitality industry, but also a dozen related industries and spheres of life of the city after the pandemic will weaken.