“We wanted to present the festival which has already become the hallmark of Saint Petersburg, but due to objective reasons we could not hold it in person. However, residents, Russians and potential tourists from all over the world have a unique opportunity to see both classic Petersburg and its new tourist geography from unusual angles online. For this, various locations were selected: Palace in Pavlovsk, Peter and Paul Fortress, Lakhta Center, Elagin Island, Gazprom Arena, and a large-scale information campaign was conducted," said Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Saint Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development.
It is already known that the reach of the audience is unprecedented – it is over a million online views from 140 countries of the world including Russia. The festival was broadcast live by the TV Channel “78”, the educational national portal “Kultura.RF” and the official city tourist portal of Saint Petersburg “Visit Petersburg”. A large-scale PR campaign of the festival was held on the national tourism portal “Russia.Travel” in both Russian and English. The information was posted on the Internet service "Yandex.Afisha", on social networks VKontakte, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok Visit Petersburg. Citizens of Russia and Petersburgers, including those registered on the Gosuslugi.rf portal, received invitations to join the show. Rossiya Airlines, Northern Capital Gateway LLC, the major organizer of international congress and exhibition events “Roscongress”, the Lakhta Center, popular hotel chains, including Marriott, Radisson, Indigo, also posted the information about the pyrotechnic show on their Internet resources.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rossotrudnichestvo, the Ministry of Culture and the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) also provided information support to the festival. The news and broadcast of the event went around the foreign information resources of Russian centers for science and culture, Visit Petersburg tourist offices, as well as official websites and social networks of Russian embassies and consulates.
“Not a single regional event has had such a huge geography of views - more than half of the world could watch the festival by connecting to the broadcast. Christmas is an important and significant holiday for many people, and therefore our main task was to support the Christmas spirit”, added Sergey Korneev.
The festival included a competition of the best pyrotechnics. Teams from Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Syktyvkar, Belarus and Kazakhstan demonstrated their mastership. The members of the professional jury - the best international experts in the field of pyrotechnic art from Andorra, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, China, Malta, Portugal and the USA - evaluated their skills online. Viewers could also vote for their favorite performance - the results will be announced on 11 January.
It should be noted that the show "Christmas Star" is also part of the information campaign, which, like many other cities in the world, is actively conducted by Saint Petersburg. Among other events, the online festival is intended to draw the attention of as many potential travelers to our city as possible, who could become guests of Saint Petersburg after the lifting of restrictions. The number of deferred travels continues to increase both abroad and in Russia. According to estimates by the World Tourism Organization, more than one billion tourist trips hadn’t been taken by the end of 2020 worldwide - global tourism returned to the level of 30 years ago in the past year.
After the lifting of restrictive measures, the competition for tourists between all tourist centers will rise exponentially. Therefore, it is necessary to maximize people's interest in Russia and Saint Petersburg, its cultural, event and tourist opportunities, to draw the attention of travelers with different interests and hobbies to the classical and new offers of the Northern Capital, to focus their attention on the fact that our city is a Russian and international travel hub, a bridge between the world and Russia. Since 2021, the procedure for obtaining a permit to enter our country has been simplified. After the weakening of the pandemic, foreigners will be able to receive a unified e-visa that allows staying in Russia for up to 16 days.
The early work in the Russian and international markets will allow us to realize the deferred demand from millions of travelers to restore the tourism economy and dozens of related industries and spheres of city life, to return guests to Saint Petersburg after the weakening of the pandemic.
As we reported earlier, the event projects of the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development won the Russian Event Awards 2020.
* The organizer of the annual Fire Festival “Christmas Star” is the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development. This year the event was held for the 4th time.