Rising Euro Rate Affects Russian-Finnish-Estonian Tourist Flow

Alena Donskaya, 23.04.2014 07:17
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According to the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Border Service of the Federal Security Service, there has been a significant drop in the number of crossings of the Russian-Finnish and Russian-Estonian borders during the first quarter of 2014.

At a meeting with travel business representatives of the city and the region, which was devoted to the upcoming May holidays, Head of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Border Service Colonel Dmitry Davidenko said that the international car crossing point ‘Svetlogorsk’ saw a 3% increase in the number of crossings during this year’s first quarter.

At the same time, Brusnichnoye saw a 17% decrease, and Torfjanovka – almost a 10% decrease. As for the organized tourism, the number of buses that crossed the border ties in with the overall picture: a 10% increase at the Svetlogorsk car crossing point, and an 18, 16 and 3% decrease at Brusnichnoye, Torfjanovka and Ivangorod car crossing points respectively (the last one being situated at the Russian-Estonian border) as compared to the same period of 2013. The participants of the meeting ascribe it first and foremost to the rise of the euro rate, which led to a significant drop in the number of tourists who combine holidays in Finland and Estonia with shopping.

At the same time, the prolonged May holidays can once again cause ‘tie-ups’ at the border, since the traffic that is passing through the car crossing points in Leningrad Oblast (its residents, along with the residents of St. Petersburg, constitute up to 80% of Finland’s inbound tourist flow) already strongly exceeds their capacity.

According to border guards, instead of 100 buses a day Torfjanovka lets through up to 200, Svetlogorsk – 50 as opposed to 6, and Brusnichnoye and Ivangorod – 100 as opposed to 60. Dmitry Davidenko says that because of it only one minute is spent on registering each tourist on a bus, as opposed to the required three minutes, since otherwise it is impossible to register all the tourists. He urged travel companies to make adjustments to the schedule of bus arrivals to the car crossing points in order for them to spread evenly throughout the day, which would help eliminate delays at the border.

Deputy Head of the North-Western Department of Rosgranitsa Vladimir Panov proceeded to add that the Agency was content with the results of the experimental implementation of the electric queue management system at the ‘Kunichina Gora’ car crossing point in Pskov Oblast, but there was little chance that this system would be implemented at other North-Western car crossing points of Russia during 2014.

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