Larisa Bravitskaya, actress, writer
For the next (second) time this year, the Governor of St. Petersburg, AD Beglov, decides to close the city and calls, I quote, "to reduce the tourist attractiveness of the city for tourists".
This insane call from the head of the city means that most large, medium and small enterprises in the hospitality, tourism and service sectors are on the verge of destruction.
Driven to despair, restaurateurs, hoteliers, carriers, guides and other representatives of the hospitality and service sector of St. Petersburg turned directly to the President of the Russian Federation V.V.
The worst thing is that by actually closing the city, Governor Beglov once again offers business to save itself, without making any decisions about real support of the closed industry.
Losses of St. Petersburg travel companies have already reached 80-85%, hotels - 70%, restaurants - 60%, theaters - up to 75%, museums and exhibition complexes - up to 65%, cinemas - up to 70%, event organizers - up to 100% of last year's level...
Moreover, despite the fact that in 2019, only during the New Year holidays, tourists spent 1.8 billion rubles in St. Petersburg.
Against the background of the dying industry, the gratitude of the hoteliers of the Pskov region to Governor Beglov for the closure of St. Petersburg for the period of the New Year holidays looks like a frank banter.
Thanks to this decision, room reservations in hotels in Pskov and the Pskov region have reached 100%.
“Thanks to St. Petersburg, which has closed almost everything, so we are expecting an influx of guests”, - admitted Svetlana Baranova, head of representatives of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia and the Pskov region.
Representatives of the hospitality sector of St. Petersburg are asking the President to urgently intervene in the situation, take measures, and help the city retain the high title of the Tourist Capital of Russia.
Petersburg is not a stranger to our President.
Economic and cultural forums are held in St. Petersburg, a city that has long won fame as the tourist, cultural and gastronomic capital of Russia.
So far, the Kremlin has assessed the resistance of St. Petersburg's restaurateurs (see the article "Peter or Foolov?" For December 8, 2020) and called for a constructive dialogue between the city authorities and business representatives.
“We must look for joint ways out, and we have no doubt that, in fact, such a dialogue will be established”, - Peskov said.
But there is no dialogue yet. There are only rash, not considered decisions of the mayor, who not only is not going to provide assistance to the industry dying before our eyes, but also does not want to hear anything.
And yet, I want to believe that in the wake of growing discontent that threatens to turn into a serious and open rebellion, the President will carefully read the appeal and make a decision quickly and positively.
To the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
From the Interdisciplinary Coordination Council for Hospitality and Services
December 09, 2020
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
We, restaurateurs, hoteliers, travel agencies, carriers, guides and other representatives of the hospitality and service sector of St. Petersburg, all those who make our city a visiting card of Russia in the field of inbound and domestic tourism, have to contact you directly for the second time in 2020. Once again this year, the Governor of St. Petersburg A.D. Beglov, decides on the actual closure of the tourism and catering industry in your native city during the height of the tourist season - New Year and New Year's holidays - a decision that can practically destroy most both large and medium and small enterprises in the sphere of hospitality, tourism and service. This decision is not only disastrous for the tourist capital of Russia, but also directly contradicts the Order of the Government of the Russian Federation to the regional authorities on the need to provide a "proper analysis" of the epidemiological situation and, on its basis, introduce bans "within the established competence", avoiding negative economic consequences.
The City Government did not conduct any proper analysis of the situation and discussion of possible measures to simultaneously reduce the spread of coronavirus infection and preserve jobs in the industry. The city is developing a difficult situation with the bed capacity required for hospitalization of patients with a new coronavirus infection. We understand that the city needs to find funds to keep the health care system operational, both this and next year. These funds can just form a business by paying taxes to the city treasury, but the decisions made deprive the city of these revenues.
Closing the city to tourists, the Governor offers the business, which had been drained of blood by the first wave, to save itself. No other region of the country makes such decisions without simultaneously announcing real measures to support the closed industry. The decision of the Government of St. Petersburg also negatively affects the image of the state federal program to stimulate affordable domestic tourist trips through reimbursement of part of the cost of paid tourist services (the so-called "tourist cashback" program) The tourism industry earns mainly from May to August and partially during the New Year holidays... This year, in the summer, the city was closed, in whole or in part, and now it will actually be closed to tourists during the New Year holidays.
The business received preferential loans in order, in accordance with your decree, to retain staff and hold out until the restrictions are lifted. After the partial lifting of restrictions, we responsibly began to comply with all the instructions of Rospotrebnadzor and local authorities to combat infection, just to continue working and save as many jobs as possible.
Adopted by the Governor of St. Petersburg A.D. A runaway solution would result in:
- the loss of tourist infrastructure, the restoration of which will take years;
- massive unemployment in the tourism and related industries;
- non-payment of loan obligations and, accordingly, to massive bankruptcies of enterprises that will not be able to retain staff and will have to repay loans at a commercial rate that were issued under the guarantees of the Government of the Russian Federation with further write-offs;
- significant losses of revenues to the city budget from tourism and related industries for at least 3-5 years
- the insolvency of the city to receive and serve at a high level all-Russian and international events, Russian tourists, as well as slow down the development of industry in the region for years.
We ask you to intervene in the situation and take the necessary management decisions to preserve the well-being of citizens and preserve the industries of tourism, hospitality, culture and public catering during this difficult period for the city. Please help our city retain the title of the Tourist Capital of Russia.
Thanks for attention.
Interdisciplinary Coordination Council for Hospitality and Services, representing the interests of the following professional public organizations: Russian Hotel Association; AmCham Tourism Committee; Union of Tourism and Hospitality; Association of Small Hotels of St. Petersburg; Regional Public Organization "Assistance to Small Business"; Beauty Industry Entrepreneurs Association; Wheretoeat Restaurant Award
Executive Secretary Builova Tamara Alexandrovna