The brig “Rossiya” at “Scarlet Sails”. This unique ship brings together the traditions of shipbuilding with the latest technological innovations.
It’s love at first sight with St. Petersburg — this is the city of daydreaming, a place that stimulates the creativity! As the Marquis de Custine, the French traveller and writer, wrote in amazement: “St. Petersburg overwhelms your mind more than your eye!” The city of Peter the Great has always attracted visitors for its grandeur, history and vibrant, eventful life. Those who come here will never feel bored.
TEXT: Nikita Belov
The city is famous not only for its rich cultural life, museums and theatres, but also for large colourful festivals and parades. It regularly hosts major sporting and business events.
Start from St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is widely thought of as the best city to start getting to know Russia.
Answering the question, “Which Russian city do you recommend travellers to visit first in Russia?”, 56 percent of respondents on Aviasales, the popular booking website, voted for St. Petersburg. Only 32 percent recommended foreign visitors to start with Moscow, While Kazan ranked third with 7 percent of votes, and Sochi came fifth with just 5 percent.
The city’s tourist police, established ahead of the World Cup 2018, continues to operate as a regular law enforcement unit.
According to Yevgeny Pankevich, the head of St. Petersburg’s Tourism Development Committee, the City Tourism and Information Bureau was involved in recruiting and training the unit’s officers: they are a well-trained and professional team, who speak English and are always available to help travellers.
The tourist police patrol Palace Square, Vosstaniya Square, St. Isaac’s Square, and the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood from 11:00 to 21:30, and can give directions or provide help to travellers in any emergency.
AskMeSPb is another tourist assistance service. AskMeSPb personnel wear a distinctive uniform that can immediately be spotted on the street. They carry bags with booklets and city maps, which they hand out to tourists free of charge. Using Segway scooters to move around the city, the team patrols the Admiralty and Central Districts. The service cooperates with the tourist police and can show visitors to a police station if needed.
Film Debuts on New Holland Island
The “New Holland: Cultural Urbanization” project is launching an International Festival of Debut Films on New Holland Island, which will run for the first time in 2020.
The festival’s mission is to support original and authentic talents and projects and introduce new names to world cinema. The international competition will include short and full-length features, the full-length category including only feature films, while the shorts programme includes documentaries, experimental works and feature films on an equal basis.
A three-day preview in July premiered Russian and international films, held discussions with directors, and presented video art and lectures by teachers at top international film schools, as well as a round-table discussion of challenges facing Russian debut films.
“Scarlet Sails” Sets a New Record
The “Scarlet Sails” festival, held in St. Petersburg on the night of June 23/24, brought together 1.4 million people — 200,000 more than in 2018.
“Scarlet Sails” is a public event that marks the end of the school year, and is held annually in late June. The spectacular show has long a tourist highlight of St. Petersburg, widely popular with European visitors. It begins with a staged theatre show on Palace Square and continues with concerts and fireworks on the Neva and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Its climax is the appearance of a tall ship sporting spectacular scarlet sails, accompanied by fireworks and special musical accompaniment.
Yachting on the Baltic
More than 100,000 people took part in “Baltic Yachting Week”, held on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress in mid-June.
For three days, the location on the Neva hosted events where guests could meet well-known sailors, try their hand at shipbuilding classes, learn to tie knots in the Sea Village, explore different classes of yachts, and enroll in the St. Petersburg yachting school. They could also try windsurfing and ship out on a captain’s galley, but the most popular events were the presentations by veteran navigators and the workshops for kids. About 15,000 people visited Sea Village during the event.
Simultaneously, St. Petersburg hosted the fifth stage of the Russian National Sailing League’s regatta with 20 top-rated teams.
Another spectacular event featured some of Russia’s top windsurfers, who made a great show at the beach.
Russian and foreign musicians appeared in the evening’s concert performance, which was opened by the Chest cover band and Yoel Gonzalez’s PHILORITMICA sextet from Cuba. Maxim Leonidov was the concert’s headliner, and the show had a grand finale in the form of the “Sails Ballet” show, which had sailboats waltzing on the water in neon lights to Vivaldi, followed by the closing festival fireworks.
We are delighted to welcome you to St. Petersburg!
In 2019, the city is honoured to be hosting the 23rd UN General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This is a historic event for our country and its Northern capital. We value the attention of world tourism professionals towards our city, and are therefore preparing to host the event at the highest level.
Tourism is one of the top priorities in the socio-economic development of the city. More than eight million guests visit St. Petersburg every year to see its unique cultural and historic heritage, and enjoy theatre and musical events.
Every year the city receives one of the prestigious World Travel Awards. In the St. Petersburg region, the development of business tourism, congress tourism, and exhibition activities is a high priority: such fields offer considerable economic potential. The number of major international business events held in the city is growing annually. The “Ambassador of St. Petersburg” programme has been a success.
The government of St. Petersburg pays serious attention to promoting the city’s tourism potential both in Russia and abroad. We are developing business and event tourism and creating an infrastructure that will open new opportunities for visitors to become acquainted with our city. Our plans include expanding yachting and nautical tourism, as well as culinary, medical and other fields of tourism.
We wish the magazine’s readers bright impressions of St. Petersburg.
Chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development