Moscow Welcomed More Tourists in '07

More foreign tourists visited Moscow last year as Russia's capital became a "more comfortable and modern" place, the city's government said.

The city welcomed more than 4 million tourists from countries outside the former Soviet Union last year, a 7.5 percent increase from 2006, the city's tourism committee said Wednesday. The plurality of visitors came from Germany.

"Foreign tourists' growing interest in Moscow proves that the city's image is improving abroad," committee chairman Grigory Antufeyev said in a statement. City Hall is seeking to dispel the stereotype that Moscow is unaffordable for middle-class visitors, he said.

A plurality of foreign tourists, 296,513 people, came from Germany, followed by 157,735 from the United States and 146,779 from China, according to the statement. Moscow had the world's highest hotel rates in 2007.

City Hall aims to more than double available lodging to 186,000 spaces in 553 hotels by 2010.