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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Sees 2002 Tourism Revenues at $2Bln

Foreign tourists are expected to have spent some $2 billion in Moscow by the end of 2002 as the number of visitors from abroad passes 2 million, the head of City Hall's tourism committee said Thursday.

Foreign tourists stay in the capital for an average of 3 1/2 days and spend about $1,000 each, Grigory Antyufeyev told reporters. Some 1.7 million foreigners visited Moscow last year, he said.

"This growth is the result of our efforts and the political and economic stability in the country," Antyufeyev said.

The largest number of visitors come from Germany, followed by the United States, Britain, France and Italy, he said.

Forty-two percent of last year's tourists came from the Commonwealth of Independent States and 58 percent from further abroad, according to the tourism committee.

Antyufeyev said it is not clear whether the figures included foreign businessmen.

The tourism committee should have new statistics on the number of foreign visitors to Moscow at the end of next year that conform to World Tourism Organization standards, he said.

Moscow has set a target of hosting 5 million tourists per year from non-CIS countries by 2010.

Stephane Meyrat, a senior consultant at Hotel Consulting and Development Group, questioned Antyufeyev's figures, saying the committee did not take into account tourists from the CIS when compiling some of the data.

The average visitor spending $1,000 in 3 1/2 days seems unrealistic because visitors from the CIS have significantly lower spending power than Westerners, he said.

"The $1,000 corresponds only to 10 percent to 15 percent of the total tourism influx per year," Meyrat said, adding that the Central Bank puts average spending at just $30 per person and the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's tourism department puts it at $100 to $150.

Antyufeyev said City Hall has spent 200 million rubles ($6.3 million) on attracting tourism this year and that every dollar generates $49, adding, though, that the money does not necessarily return to the city budget.

He said last month's hostage-taking should have little effect on the tourism industry because terrorism can appear anywhere.

"Until recently Finland was considered one of the safest countries in the world, but last month a bomb went off in a Helsinki shopping center," he said.

A shrapnel bomb went off in the Myyrmanni shopping mall in Vantaa, just north of Helsinki, on Oct. 11, killing seven people and injuring around 80. Among those killed was Petri Gerdt, the 19-year-old chemistry major who planted the bomb. The incident has not been linked to terrorism.

Hotels said the Moscow hostage crisis has had little effect on the hospitality industry and that occupancy is up.

"We're doing well and there has been no bad influence as a result of the hostage crisis," said Tatyana Tarasova, a spokeswoman for the high-end Baltschug Kempinski hotel.

Victoria Abakumova, spokeswoman for the high-end Radisson Slavyanskaya, said that average occupancy is high by international standards at 65 percent to 70 percent. "It has been and still is a very productive year for the hospitality industry in Moscow," she said.