This was reported to Lenta.ru by the Deputy Head of the Federal Tourism Agency Sergei Korneev.
The Union of National and International Tourist Offices (SONATO) already includes the Federal Agency itself and its subordinate National Marketing Centre for Tourism (Visit Russia). It is assumed that the Union will be joined by private Russian and foreign companies.
According to Korneev, SONATO will work on the “front line” of the inbound travel industry. In particular, it will communicate with foreign journalists who are, at times, ill-disposed towards Russia.
The Union members also intend to change the opinion of foreign tourists about Russia, who are afraid to come here because of the stereotypes, Korneev added. “Many foreigners, who are accustomed to travel around the world, still believe that we have bears in the streets, the Russian mafia, Dostoevsky’s Petersburg and a shortage of the most essential products! And this is not a joke,” he lamented.
SONATO will focus on promoting specific areas of inbound tourism, removing or alleviating the barriers to the development of the travel industry, and other problems. “In this regard, SONATO’s prospects are huge, because the interest in Russia is only growing abroad, regardless of all the sanctions,” Korneev said.
He also said that the Union will use the 2018 FIFA World Cup to attract travellers to Russia. “SONATO’s whole goal is to become a mouthpiece for the interested tourism business that literally cries out to not to miss this chance!” said the expert.
In late November, Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Manilova spoke about the growth in the flow of foreign travellers to Russia willing to know the truth about the country.