US Consul: Americans afraid of visiting St. Petersburg

Americans are afraid of visiting St. Petersburg, according to the US consul in the city, David Siefkin. As reported by a Rosbalt correspondent, Siefkin said Monday that 'Americans consider St. Petersburg to be a dangerous city, because they have heard about horrific muggings on the streets, stories about corrupt officials, about attacks by 'skinheads'. That is why they feel more comfortable in New York or Washington.'

Siefkin also said that there were a few high-end hotels in St. Petersburg, and practically none that were more reasonably priced. 'The average price of a hotel room in the Grand Hotel Europe was USD 300. For the average American that is very expensive,' he said. 'We think that St. Petersburg should be open not only to rich Americans, but to people of average means.'

Another important aspect of the development of American tourism in St. Petersburg has to be attracting older Americans. 'The demographic situation in the United States is such that in the near future we will experience a dramatic growth of retirees,' he said. Siefkin said that it was necessary to organize international seminars in St. Petersburg on culture, architecture and history, and to develop student exchanges. 'St. Petersburg attracts people from all over the world. Now it has become more open for Americans than it was a few years ago,' he said. 'It is important that the authorities in St. Petersburg ensure that Americans will not be able to feel cultured if they have not visited St. Petersburg. For example, that is what is happening now with Rome.'

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