IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT ST. PETERSBURG WAS CALLED THE “NORTHERN PALMYRA” BY OUR ANCESTORS. THE IMAGE OF THE RICHEST ANCIENT CITY IN THE SYRIAN DESERT EVOKED COMPARISONS WITH ST. PETERSBURG AMONG RUSSIAN WRITERS AND POETS. THE CITY THAT APPEARED AMONG THE MARSHES LIKE AN OASIS, IMBUED WITH THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM AND GREATNESS, ASTOUNDS VISITORS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Dear Friends,
In May, St. Petersburg celebrated its 315th anniversary. Relatively young by historical standards, this megapolis continues to develop and become more beautiful.
The city has done a tremendous job preparing for the much-anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup— building a state-ofthe-art 68 000-seat stadium, as well as a new pedestrian access bridge to it across the Neva river. Two new metro stations have been constructed, comfortable buses and subway trains have been purchased, parks and squares have been renovated, and new hotels have been built.
A modern sea port capable of receiving ocean liners facilitates cruise tourism and strengthens St. Petersburg’s position as one of the most visited cities of the Baltic.
We are delighted to see the number of visitors to our city increase each year. It is not a coincidence that three years in a row St. Petersburg has been awarded prestigious international World Travel Awards in various categories.
St. Petersburg is a leading venue for open international dialogue. Each year the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum gathers the elite of international politics and business, and in 2019, the UN General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will take place for the first time in our city. Then, in 2020, the Northern capital will host the congress of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies.
I wish all our guests the most pleasant and memorable experiences in our wonderful city!

Georgy Poltavchenko,
Governor of St. Petersburg

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