Russia's tourism industry lacks 'smile' - senior official

© RIA Novosti . Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankRussia's tourism industry lacks 'smile'
Russia's tourism industry lacks 'smile' - Sputnik International
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Poor infrastructure, high prices and bad service are still hampering the massive potential of Russia's tourist industry, deputy head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism said.

Poor infrastructure, high prices and bad service are still hampering the massive potential of Russia's tourist industry, deputy head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism said.

Alexander Radkov, who headed the Russian delegation to the World Travel Market 2010 exhibition in London this week, said the Russian exposition had been successful, showing a growing global interest in Russia as a tourist destination.

However, inbound tourism still lags behind outbound tourism in Russia. Preliminary data for 2010 shows that while the rate of outbound tourism grew by 30-40 percent, inbound tourism only grew by 6.5 percent, Radkov said.

"We may have a good hotels... but at times we are lacking the one thing that is most important - hospitality," Radkov said. "We need to smile more, lay beds and decorate rooms properly. Attention to detail is what we need."

The Russian government tends to abandon its vast tourism potential in favor of the more lucrative oil and gas industry. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to diversify Russia's $1.2 trillion economy by encouraging investment in other sectors.

An ambitious $15-billion project to create a tourist industry in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, home to Chechnya and Ingushetia, is to be developed by June as a part of the development of Russian tourism.

LONDON, November 12 (RIA Novosti)

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