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    Number of Foreign Tourists in Moscow Increased by 40% Over Past 7 Years - Mayor

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of foreign tourists visiting Moscow has increased by 40% over the past seven years despite the tense relations between Russia and the West, Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin said.

    "The flow of tourists since 2010 has grown from 12 million to 21 million. Moreover, not only Russians are heading to Moscow now. Despite everything that is happening and the world being constantly intimidated by Moscow, the number of foreigners in these seven years has increased by 40 percent," Sobyanin told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview published on Monday.

    According to the mayor, tourism revenues in Moscow's economy now amount to "over 700 billion rubles [$11.4 billion] a year," which is in part due to the city's development, event tourism, and festivals.

    Sobyanin also expressed confidence that the number of foreign tourists in Moscow would continue to increase.

    Russian-Western relations deteriorated in 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in Ukrainian domestic affairs and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The relations got even worse due to Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, which contradicts the West's stance. Most recently, the ties were affected by Russia's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former intelligence officer in the United Kingdom. Russia has repeatedly denied all allegations.

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    tourism, Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow, Russia
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