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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The first group of Chinese tourists after the pandemic arrived in St. Petersburg News

The high winds and drifting snow haven’t stopped residents of Guangzhou, a southern city where the temperature is currently over 20 degrees Celsius, from rejoicing to finally be there and see the Hermitage, the pillar of ‘Alexandria, the Arch of the General Staff – sites they had heard so much about and read about. The citizens of the Celestial Empire smiled, posed for the photographer of “RG” and … slightly lamented that there was not enough snow on the Palace. And the day before, when they went to Pushkin, they were able to play real snowballs, so much was the snow near the Catherine Palace. For people in the southern regions, this is a miracle.

– I was very, very looking forward to the opportunity to go to St. Petersburg. I am in Russia for the second time. The first trip was to Vladivostok. In the current tour, I liked everything, everything, everything. And in particular the Catherine Palace with the Amber Room and the ballet “Le Lac des Cygnes” at the Kremlin Palace. I was preparing for the trip, I read a lot about the history of the country, – Zhu Jing shared his impressions.

– I’m here again. And it’s such a joy! There were no trips for three years. Russia missed. Driving along Nevsky Prospekt, I wanted to tell my compatriots about the sights myself, I was so overwhelmed with emotions, – said tour leader Zhang Xue Song.

We ask tourists what was particularly impressive besides the sights. They call winter, frosts, Russian cuisine – cabbage rolls, borscht and pancakes. Everything is incredibly delicious! I was also struck by Russian hospitality: at Moscow airport they were greeted with bread and salt, and in general, wherever they had time to go, they were treated with a lot of respect and care. They talked about their plans – a visit to the Hermitage, a trip to Peterhof, a walk along Nevsky Prospekt. And they are also looking forward to excursions to the ice sculpture festival “KronshLed” – also in Kronstadt. And although the tour is in full swing, they are already thinking of a second trip to St. Petersburg.

In the first group – people of different ages, different professions. They recruited people who wanted to leave very quickly, even if you can’t call the trip cheap. There are no charter planes yet, and tourists have paid a lot for visas, about 150 dollars. But soon, everyone hopes, groups will be able to come without a visa.

As Russian tour operators told RG, hotels are already being actively booked for future groups from China. Book mainly three or four star hotels. They are already waiting there.

In the meantime

Regular mutual mass travel of tourists from China and Russia has yet to resume, despite the reinstatement of a visa-free regime for group travellers. Technical issues are still being resolved, lists of host travel agencies are being coordinated, Dmitry Gorin, vice-president of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry, told RG. According to him, now trips are made on individual visas. Due to the lack of a massive tourist flow, the cost of flights is quite high.

As a representative of the aggregation company explained to RG, it is now possible to book tours in China with accommodation in Hong Kong and Beijing. Traveling for two for seven nights with departure in early March and accommodation in a four-star hotel without meals will cost from 205,000 rubles.

Prepared by Evgeny Gaiva

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