The event was attended by representatives of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, diplomatic missions of foreign countries in Russia, tourist companies of St. Petersburg and Vietnam, as well as higher educational institutions and public organizations.
For the second time, the forum becomes an effective discussion platform for companies and enterprises of the tourism industry of St. Petersburg and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The forum was organized by the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development.
According to the Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm), Demyan Smilevets, Vietnam has traditionally been one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), in 2019, the tourist flow from Russia to Vietnam was more than 570 thousand people, 8% more than in 2018, while the number of Vietnamese tourists to Russia in 2019 was more than 59 thousand people.
"In the near future, foreign tourists will be able to enter our country on an e-visa. The guest will be allowed to stay in Russia for up to 16 days, – said Demyan Smilevets. – The e-visa was supposed to start operating on 1 January 2021, but due to coronavirus restrictions, the document processing was suspended until a special order of the Government of Russia."
Vice Chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Le Phuc noted that on 22 May 2019, the Memorandum on Cooperation was signed between the Federal Agency for Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, aimed at establishing favorable conditions for increasing the mutual tourist flow. However, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has created temporary difficulties in cultural and tourist exchange.
As the Deputy Chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development Nana Gvichia said, the city on the Neva River is comfortable and safe for tourists, including tourists from Vietnam.
"St. Petersburg became the first city in Russia joining the international program for safe tourism – Safe Travels. As part of this initiative, the city has a single sign of safe and comfortable rest for the hospitality industry - Safe Travels SPb. For tourists, this sign is a guarantee that the services provided by tourism organizations meet the requirements of sanitary hygienic standards and safety standards," said Nana Gvichia. – We hope that the forum will strengthen relations between professionals of the tourism market of our countries and will allow us to see a large number of tourists from Vietnam on the streets of St. Petersburg. Taking into account many years of friendly and cultural ties, the restoration of the mutual tourist flow after the removal of coronavirus restrictions will be quick."
Vyacheslav Kalganov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, spoke about the restoration of air traffic between Russia and Vietnam. Aeroflot Russian Airlines launched ticket sales to this Asian country from 2 May 2021.
According to the Deputy General Director for Planning and Execution of Government Programs of the St. Petersburg Tourist Information Bureau Nikita Zhiltsov, the deep cultural ties between Russia and Vietnam are confirmed by the fact that one of the streets in St. Petersburg is named after the great Vietnamese statesman Ho Chi Minh.
"St. Petersburg is a recognized tourist center. Despite the fact that in 2020 the tourist flow to the city was 2.9 million people, we hope for its rapid recovery to the level of 2019, when 10.4 million guests visited the city on the Neva River," said Nikita Zhiltsov.
For this purpose, the city has introduced tax preferences for the travel industry, in particular, the income tax has been reduced to 1% and preferential loans have been introduced to pay salaries to employees of travel industry enterprises. The St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development develops various types of tourism in the city, such as business, gastronomic, medical, children's, industrial, religious, wedding, event and others. The project "New Cultural and Tourist Geography of St. Petersburg" is also being actively implemented; it unites creative clusters and art spaces by including them in new excursion routes. You can plan a trip to the Northern capital of Russia on the official city tourist portal or in the app Visit-Petersburg.ru.
Travel companies from St. Petersburg and Vietnam presented their products at the Forum. The participants of the event expressed hope for the speedy overcoming the consequences of the pandemic and the growth of mutual tourist flow.
The first tourism forum "Saint Petersburg - Vietnam" was held in Saint Petersburg on 22-23 October 2019. It was attended by the largest Vietnamese tour operators. The main purpose of the event was to develop and strengthen international relations in tourism, to demonstrate the tourist potential of St. Petersburg and the provinces of Vietnam, as well as to improve the quality of tourist services.
In the same year, in order to develop Russian-Vietnamese relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order on holding the Year of the Russian Federation in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Year of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the Russian Federation. One of the main goals of the Russian-Vietnamese cooperation is to promote Russia as a tourist destination among Vietnamese citizens.