Russian friendly-Italian example we should follow

As an example of successful cooperation between two countries on field of tourism definitely good example areRussiaandItaly. What does Italian ambassador inMoscowdo and how to work on advertising your homeland, we bring in an interview with Antonio Zanardi published in magazine Aeroflot (August 2013)

                                                       „ Totally different Italy“

Italian ambassador in Moscow Antonio Zanardi on million of entry visas, discounts and bonuses and politic Russian friendly

Dear Ambassador, first of all we would like to thank you for an interview and time that you have taken for Aeroflot travellers. As we found out, in September starts the year of tourism Italy-Russia. Italy has already been known as one of the countries which Russians visit gladly. What will be different in this year comparing to other?

First of all I would like to greet all Aeroflot travellers and Russian friends who have chosen for place of their holiday. Yes, you are right, it seems as we have lived for long according to the motto of year of Russian tourism. Continuous growth of Russian tourists inItalyis proof of that.

In year 2013 we expect further increase in number of tourists. First months of this year the number of issued visas has increased for 25%.All tourists who visitItalyare full of impressions. Our biggest wealth are just this kind of experiences and unforgettable experiences , Goethe, Stendhal, Hemingway used to write („ How beautiful are morning strolls along Koloseum“-enthusiastically written by Stendhal in Strolls alongRome).

Italyattracts Russian tourists with its inexhaustible diversity in scenery, art and cultural heritage, sea, beaches, health tourism, shopping, wine and cuisine. In short, with everything which leaves deep and unforgettable impression! People visitItalyagain because they want to meet our country in total. But believe me not even whole life is  enough for that! In year of tourism we will have deeper insight in travelling and we will see otherItaly.

Russian tourism is still young feature  ( it is enough to mention that today only 15% of Russian travel) with huge potential  for development, specially in regions. One of the tasks in year of tourism is wakening of Russian regions. Due to that we plan in towns with million citizens to organise many events to meet in closer, open new visa centres and bring in new air lines. Apart from that, tourism is “multiplier” which enables connection in two directions: on arrival many Russians become real fans ofItalywhich is only a step away from investing in Italian real estates. By the way, one part of happenings in year of tourism will be directed into investments of that kind. Specialized area are not also forgiven like health tourism or tourism directed to consulting activities

One of the most important questions at the moment is visa issuing. How is it possible to simplify the procedure, and the terms to be shorten?


In last five year the number of issued visas has doubled (630 000 visas in year 2012)- the third of total number of visas issued by Italian embassies in the world), and that number continues to grow.

From 1st January to 1st May we have issued 300 000 visas. This number of visas was issued by our embassies inChina in year 2012 !This big growth was not an easy task for one administrative system. This situation could be compared to change of car motor during the drive. Huge powers were needed in order to reorganize and optimize working process.

Out task is to issue in coming year million entering visas. Italian embassies will issue long term multi-entry visas ( up to two years) in cases when there are legal basis for that. This is referring to tourist and business visas. In this way, going  toItalywould be simplified for all fans of our country and for those who would like to cooperate withItaly. Date of issue for visas will not be longer than five days. In year of tourism we plan to introduce free visas for children up to 16 years, tour operators, journalists-travel writer, importers of Italian products and participants of educational and cultural programs. Russians who would like to visitItalyfor important cultural happenings like festivals and opera premiere of leading Italian theatres will have opportunity to get free visa with the package of specially developed offers. Italian gates are open for all Russians who love it.

Ask any  Aeroflot traveller for which Italian cities or regions they have heard they will answer next:Rome,Venice, Milano,Florence, Toscan, Piemont. ButItalyis far more richer and with more facilities!

Right! Today big number of Russian tourists travels to mentioned towns. It is not necessary to mention Milano andFlorencein year of tourism, they are known to everyone there. But is it necessary to say that there are many unforgettable and obligatory tours inRomeandFlorenceoffered by tourist agencies. In year of tourism we intend first of all to popularize other Italy-Italy of smaller towns rich in art, national parks and so call it, alternative sights that are not so famous. That is 90% ofItaly.Italyis the country with the biggest number of natural sights (49) listed on UNESCO’s list, and 80 % of these sights is not listed in usual tourist travelling. These are the towns with rich history, such asSiena,Ferrara, Urbino,Modeno,Pisa,Mantova,Asiz. There is also Alberobello with unique stone buildings trullo. The most interesting monuments are here, real history pearls. We would like Russian tourists to visit places that are connected to orthodoxy and places where Russian artists used to stay (for example Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Gorki) for tourists to get to know better Italian painters. We will also mention that at exhibition  inMuseumofA.S.PushkininMoscowwe will present original tour Tiziano land.

Do you plan as a part of year of tourism some special offers to tour operators, actions, discounts for payment of hotels and purchase?

Definitely. We have made arrangements with many Italian banks which have business inRussiato publish special card dedicated to year of tourism and first of all for tourists who travel on holiday inItaly. This card allows different advantages as discounts in shops of famous trade marks, free insurance and baggage insurance while travelling.

All the details will be published on internet page of year of tourism. That is in one way window of our activities. Here you will find calendar of happenings, information on Italian regions and tourist complexes, information on cultural happenings and life, shows, exhibition and other news. Apart from internet page we have opened Facebook page and You tube channel. If you travel toItaly, you can download travelling application. So, I invite all Russian friends to join us online.

It is not a secret that one of the obstacles for travelling toEuropeis language. Not all hotel employees speak foreign languages. How to accomplish understanding?

In bigger towns –Rome,Veniceand Milano staff  often speak not only English but also Russian and even Japanese. The problem is when there is not enough number of tourist arrivals, in smaller towns that are not destination of mass tourism. Apart from that, the circle of companies inItalywhere Russians would like to invest is spreading. According to the agreement with Russian biggest tour operators in year of tourism we will create special sign Russian friendly for hotels and companies who are into tourism. The sign will show: “We look forward to Russians here”. This does not mean that staff only speaks Russian language, but also that menus and instructions are translated into Russian, that it is possible to find Russian newspapers, magazines and TV channels, but there is also one cultural standard that is followed which considers Russian tradition and interests of Russian tourists.

In any case, I’m sure that main support will be Italian hospitability, will to help and will to offer service.

In short, I can only wish happy trip- buon viaggo to Russian friends and all those who chooseItalyfor holiday. Also I want to all to visitItalyagain where in year of tourism there are preparing many discoveries and unforgettable tours. Till the next meeting on pages of this magazine.”


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