Russians still attracted to Jurmala, Palanga

  • 2003-05-08

Russian interest in the Baltic states sea resorts of Jurmala and Palanga are still high even though a ten-year-long period of alienation between the neighboring states has caused resentment among many potential tourists, a Moscow city government official said last week.

"Yes, ten years of alienation. It has been a lot, but at this point I see possibilities and potential for mutual tourism development. Why should Russia's residents not be going for recreation to Jurmala and Palanga if they are doing this in Turkey, Spain and similar places," said Grigory Antufeyev, chairman of Moscow's tourism committee during a meeting with Latvian journalists.

According to Antufeyev, Jurmala will need two to four years "to bring all required tourism infrastructure in order."

"Jurmala, Palanga -these are places an average Russian is associating with comfort and cleanliness. Such places are always attractive."

However, he added that the last time he was in Jurmala he saw lots of work that needed to be done in order for the city to become an international resort.

He added that an important precondition for developing a successful tourism environment is language, as vacationers like to stay in places in which "their language" is spoken.

"Do you know why so many people from Russia go to Turkey? This is because practically everyone there speaks Russian and a Russian person feels at home there."