An old saying goes, ‘If I knew a card trick, I’d live in Sochi.’ This is reflective of its reputation as a seedy resort, known for its holiday sex and illegitimate black marketers (The Economist, 2014) and therefore suggesting that this place was in need of a long overdue make-over.
One strength of Russia is that there is a lot of culture. There are at least 190 ethnic groups, speaking in excess of 100 minority languages, with over 5,000 registered religious associations! (Bradford, 2015). This is a great quality for a country to have as wherever there is culture and history; there is a wide range of things for international tourists, as well as domestic tourists, to learn and experience.
In terms of the tourism and events industry, there really is something for everyone to do and see depending on their subjective interests. If its arts you’re into, you can visit the Bolshoi Ballet or The Hermitage Art Gallery, and if its food and drink you’re into, then you can head straight to the St. Petersburg Beer Festival; the nation’s favourite street party! (Worldtravelguide.net, 2016).
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games provided a well needed re-vamp of the city and therefore restored it with life and potential for new visitors. This is a good opportunity in Russia as there are now even more places for tourists to stay and make memories, such as making use of the Olympic infrastructure, thus making it a great holiday or event destination (Bender, 2014).
On the other hand, not only is there a lack of nightlife, but there is also a shortage of accommodation, especially in big city centres. This is due to travel companies booking them in advance and in big numbers, therefore making it more difficult for independent travellers to find somewhere to stay (Boniface and Cooper, 2009). This is a major weakness of the tourism industry in Russia as if there’s nowhere for people to stay, then they simply can’t come! No doubt this will takes years to overcome, but for the moment it is definitely taking Russia off the list of ‘last minute’ city break destinations.
Russia is the perfect place to have a cultural festival as it is literally brimming with culture and history itself! It would be a good idea to have the festival in one of the major cities, such as Moscow or St. Petersburg, as there are fantastic forms of transportation in and around the city, like the metro or tram in St. Petersburg (Saint-Petersburg.com, 2016). It is also easier than ever to get to these cities, as they have six major airports combined! (Airport-authority.com, 2016). Not only is it child’s play to get there, but once you’re actually in the city there is a whole host of things to do and experience. This broadens the appeal of the festival as the visitors can also explore the city as well as the festival, therefore giving them more reasons to come to the event in the first place!
Despite the cold weather and snow for a large part of the year (Lew, Hall, and Timothy, 2008), the culture and heritage really makes up for that. There is a generous calendar consisting of food, drink, and art-based events, such as the Stars of the White Nights Festival or the St. Petersburg Beer Festival (Worldtravelguide.net), and also world heritage sites of nature that are sure to stand the test of time. If you’re into hiking and outdoor activities, you can visit one of the many UNESCO sites, for example the Golden Mountains of Altai, as well as many others (UNESCO, 2016). The transport links are fantastic as well, allowing you to get there by train or by plane! Perfect for inter-railers and the individual traveller.
Whatever you want, Russia is sure to have it!
Take the plunge, you know you want to!
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