Bid to boost tourism

April 30, 2004

Kaliningrad State University leaders believe local history and geographical location will make the enclave a potential tourist destination after the eastwards expansion of the European Union, writes Nick Holdsworth.

Diplomas in tourism, hotel and restaurant services are popular among students at the university, with as many as six students chasing every place.

Valentin Korneveets, pro rector for economic affairs and head of the tourism department, said: "It's absolutely vital to the region to develop tourism. It can act as a motor for the development of foreign trade: the more positive a picture tourists take home of the region, the better for business."

He and the regional tourism committee want to use Kaliningrad's position to boost the $50 million (£28 million) annual tourist spend through promoting interest areas such as the region's amber industry, its coastal environment and its Germanic past.

Tourism is hampered by a lack of hotel beds. The Baltic resorts, including Soviet-era sanatoria, get booked up months in advance.

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