The Tourism Industry Union said in a statement on its website that Shpilko, who is the president of the Union will be replacing the city committee’s Grigory Antyufeyev. Antyufeyev held his position in the Moscow Tourism Committee for more than a decade.
Shpilko wants to involve all participants of the tourism industry before formulating a plan. “Proposals to the city’s new authorities must be a collective brainchild of professionals”, he said.
According to estimates given out in September by the outgoing committee chief Antyufeyev, Moscow earns around $4 billion annually from foreigners. A foreign tourist would typically stay for 3-4 days and will spend $1000 during her stay.
Shpilko had worked as a top federal tourism official before he joined as president of the Lobby group in 1995. However, experts feel that Shpilko may face host of challenges in his new role.
The Tourism Industry Union’s spokeswoman Irina Tyurina said: “There is a frigging load of problems to deal with in the tourism industry in Russia” and went on to list the top 30 problems deterring foreigners from coming to the country. However, despite submitting the list to the city committee way back in 2005, most remain unresolved till date, she complained. The issues raised among others are; high cost of Russian tourism package, inadequate promotional and advertising activities and terrorism.
The archaic immigration rules require tourists to register at every city they visit. Also the Russian capital had witnessed suicide bombing at the metro in late March, killing 40 people and injuring more than 100.
Lack of government effort to promote tourism in Russia in general and Moscow in particular, has left the industry struggling, she observed. In Moscow city alone, offices of 40 different countries operate to promote tourism in their respective countries. However, Russian government is yet to open such offices in other countries to attract foreign tourists, she lamented.
Despite the lack of coordinated government efforts, Moscow managed to remain a favorite destination with foreign tourists and traffic for the first nine months have actually grown by 17 percent over last year, same period.