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Russia is a hugely underrated destination -- what can it do to improve its image?

Russia is a hugely underrated destination -- what can it do to improve its image?

Old Apr 6, 14, 4:55 pm
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Russia is a hugely underrated destination -- what can it do to improve its image?

Just back in the states after a stunning 8 days in Russia - 5 in Petersburg, and 3 in Moscow.

It knocked my socks off.

I would argue that Petersburg, in particular, can stand toe to toe with just about any other destination in Europe -- including the great cities of France, Italy etc.

But here's the thing: many people in the States wondered "why" I would want to go Russia!

Clearly, Russia has a tourism-image problem. Some of this is the fault of negative feelings towards President Putin. But is there anything the country can do to promote itself as a tourist destination?

Or perhaps it's better for us Russophiles that it not be "spoiled" and turn into another tourist-saturated Venice or Florence...
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Old Apr 7, 14, 4:09 pm
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I've been going to Russia / doing business since 2009. I am not the one time tourist. I would describe my experience something like this, in this order

START
Total mystery
Intrigue
Curiosity

PEAK
Educated blissful ignorance with a touch of romance wrapped in familiarity

END
Hard reality
Disappointment
Frustration

I think it takes about 3-4 years to get though this cycle. Most people end up somewhere between peak and the end, but unless something bad happens

For starters, lets chill out with the American hate please. This was from last week, Restaurant Dolma in Moscow. Peterburg has a history of welcoming foreigners, but Moscow ( close to the kremlin) can sometimes be a bit too much. I did not feel comfortable eating at this restaurant, nor do I suspect any American would.

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Old Apr 7, 14, 9:02 pm
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Originally Posted by koreanair720 View Post
But is there anything the country can do o promote itself as a tourist destination?
It can do a lot - if its government and citizens want it. Right now they definitely don't.
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Old Apr 9, 14, 3:04 pm
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Under Medvedev the in-land registration process was less cumbersome about now. With the geopolitical situation now, it's hard to say. The best thing Russia can do now is to wait until global warming takes effect in 30 years so the weather is at least tolerable.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 12:22 pm
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I guess it depends on who you talk to. When I went to St. Petersburg--admittedly, 10 years ago so the political situation was a bit different--most people I told thought it sounded like a great idea. But then I told them about the visa process and price....

Edited to add: BTW, I had a fantastic time, despite some culture shock and several annoyances, but I don't think I'm willing to repeat that visa thing in order to go back.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 12:45 pm
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Governments that encourage (or even allow) variable pricing based on the citizenship of the tourist are not compatible with modern tourism. In Russia, it is commonplace for certain passport holders to get a 10x discount for things like museum admissions, train tickets, subway tokens. Aeroflot used to do this on domestic itineraries.

Just a crappy way to treat guests.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by fastflyer View Post
Governments that encourage (or even allow) variable pricing based on the citizenship of the tourist are not compatible with modern tourism. In Russia, it is commonplace for certain passport holders to get a 10x discount for things like museum admissions, train tickets, subway tokens. Aeroflot used to do this on domestic itineraries.

Just a crappy way to treat guests.
Russia is not the only country that does this. This practice is and continues to be common place in Egypt ( before / after ) revolution. Don't expect to pay the same price to vistit any of the historical sites as an Egyptian. I think China still does this? And definitely Nepal. Nepal lives of tourism. Not unique.

Temedar assessment is correct.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 2:16 am
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Actually this practice is fading in Russia. Some museums and other attractions might still have different pricing, but that's it. Airlines, trains, buses cost the same for citizens and non-citizens.
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Old Apr 14, 14, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by meFIRST View Post
Russia is not the only country that does this. This practice is and continues to be common place in...
I'll add just another country to the list, and the country is usually praised for its friendliness to tourists: Thailand.

And, by the way, there has never been difference in train or metro or bus fares based on nationality (though there are lots of privileged categories).
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Old Apr 27, 14, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by koreanair720 View Post
is there anything the country can do to promote itself as a tourist destination?
Or perhaps it's better for us Russophiles that it not be "spoiled" and turn into another tourist-saturated Venice or Florence...
I've been to practically all countries in the world now, and Russia has become my favorite destination over the last 5 years. There is a feeling of freedom, last-frontier, and off-the-beaten-track that I don't easily get in other countries anymore. Therefore, I am quite happy if the Western masses stay brainwashed by our propaganda and not too many people find out about the beauty, prosperity, safety of the largest country in the world. I am talking about adventures like the Road of Bones in Yakutia, the Tuva Track in the Altai Mountains, Stalin's Dead Trassa in Yamalia, Camp Barneo at the North Pole, but also super-interesting cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Grozny, Tobolsk, Tomsk, Astrakhan, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, ...

The one thing that takes time to get used to is the initial unfriendliness of the people.

Will follow up with some trip reports.
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Old Apr 29, 14, 6:06 am
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Originally Posted by fastflyer View Post
Governments that encourage (or even allow) variable pricing based on the citizenship of the tourist are not compatible with modern tourism... Just a crappy way to treat guests.
Oh, c'mon. I travelled through most US states and saw many times how some facilities (camping, for example) give discounts to local state residents and charge me more because I'm from NY. Russia is not alone here. And if you have to pay $13 to get into the Hermitage, which is what foreigners are charged, it is still far, far, far less than what you would pay in a major museum outside Russia.
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Old May 2, 14, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by a7m View Post
Oh, c'mon. I travelled through most US states and saw many times how some facilities (camping, for example) give discounts to local state residents and charge me more because I'm from NY. Russia is not alone here. And if you have to pay $13 to get into the Hermitage, which is what foreigners are charged, it is still far, far, far less than what you would pay in a major museum outside Russia.
Only US$13? I'm not much for (art) museums, but that seems like a steal.
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Old May 3, 14, 12:08 am
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To be precise - $8.5 for Russian (and Belarussian) citizens, $11.5 for everyone else. Photo permit is extra $6
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Old May 7, 14, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by Temedar View Post
To be precise - $8.5 for Russian (and Belarussian) citizens, $11.5 for everyone else. Photo permit is extra $6
Which isn't that outrageous when you think about Taj Mahal that charges US$0.30 for Indians & US$13 for foreigners.
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Old May 15, 14, 9:01 pm
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I just found this in my spam folder, something I would have taken advantaged of in the past ( before MOW and the general business climate turned sour)

"Present a Business Class boarding pass on Aeroflot while checkin in to the Ukraine Hotel and receive late check out and room upgrade, among other privileges"

Well, I guess they are only targeting Russians or people from CIS countries. No English version available. This is just one example of hotel type promotions that target Russian speakers only.

http://www.aeroflot.ru/cms/special_o...ukraina_hotel/

It would be helpful if this was in English, alas, for non Russian speakers. I just so happens that I can read and comprehend.

BTW, I used to spend many nights at the Ukraine and was never once upgraded. Though I did become good friends with the staff.
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