The number of foreign tourists visiting the Irkutsk region during nine months of the current year grew by 48% year-on-year - almost to 117,000, head of the local tourism authority Ekaterina Slivina told TASS, adding biggest interest is from Chinese tourists.
"In 2015, the Irkutsk region welcomed 1,4 million tourists, including 128,000 from abroad, and during only nine months this year we have met 116,900 guests from abroad - this is a growth of 48% year-on-year," she said.
About 7-10 years ago, German tourists were most frequent visitors to the republic, but now Russia’s eastern neighbor tops the list. In 2015, about 36,000 came to visit the republic from China, and this year, using the visa-free regime, as many as 37,000 Chinese have stayed in the region. The biggest attraction for tourists from China is the Baikal Lake.
"The growing living standards in China have made than nation the biggest tourist in the world," the Russian official continued. "They have a certain fashion for visiting Russia, which goes in line with the development of mutual relations between our countries."
"China’s pro-Russian policies are seen only in benefits for the Chinese people in form of trips to Russia," she continued. Besides, the growing yuan rate makes trips to Russia very attractive, she added.
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