Russia reported 32.4 million arrivals of foreign citizens in 2014 or 5 percent more than the year before. Citizens of Poland, Finland and China were most frequent visitors, the Federal Tourism Agency said on Wednesday, quoting statistical data of the Federal Security Service's Border Service.
Tourist arrivals were down 3 percent, from 2.67 million in 2013 to 2.58 million in 2014.
The list of top ten countries whose citizens arrived in Russia with various purposes comprised of Poland (1.8 million, up 11 percent), Finland (1.4 million, up 4 percent), China (1.1 million, up 5 percent), Germany (635,100, down 7 percent), Lithuania (487,000, down 10 percent), Latvia (374,700, down 4 percent), Estonia (364,000, down 15 percent), Turkey (361,400, down 6 percent), the United States (257,000, down 16 percent), and the United Kingdom (228,300, down 12 percent).
South Korea demonstrated the highest growth in international tourist arrivals, from 52,100 in 2013 to 82,500 in 2014. A possible reason for this is the visa-free travel regime enacted by Russia and South Korea on January 1, 2014.
On the whole, tourist arrivals in Russia grew mostly from Asia and the Middle East. The number of Chinese tourists went up 10 percent to 409,800.
The number of tourist arrivals from Europe and North America declined most. For instance, tourist arrivals went down 27 percent from Finland (from 93,700 to 68,600), 18 percent from the United States (from 187,300 to 162,100), 15 percent from the United Kingdom (from 157,800 to 134,300), and 8 percent from Germany (from 380,300 to 349,500).
The decline in tourist arrivals from Western countries mostly had political reasons. Yet vacations in Russia have become more affordable amid the ruble fall.
Internal tourism in Russia was up 30-40 percent in 2014, according to Federal Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov. "Chinese tourists, tourists from Finland and other neighboring countries started visiting us very actively in the end of last year. The ruble fell to the dollar and the euro and travels to our country became less expensive for foreign tourists."
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