ECONOMY

Turkey, Russia vow to increase mutual tourism

and agreed on Monday to expand in and strengthen cultural ties at the opening of a joint festival in St. Petersburg.

Speaking at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Turkey's Vice Consul General noted that Russia sends the most tourists to Turkey every year.

Last year, six million Russian tourists came to Turkey, with 20% from St. Petersburg, Arıcan said, opening an international festival "Saint Petersburg - Turkey".

"Turks like and know Saint Petersburg as an extremely beautiful city with its centuries-old history. We respect its culture and traditions. Thanks to such events as this festival, we hope to develop our cooperation and get to know each other more closely," he said.

Arican said the "Saint Petersburg - Turkey" festival included a photo contest on "Petersburg through the eyes of the Turks. Istanbul through the eyes of the Russians," as well as a photo exhibition, a performance of Turkish shadow theater "Karagöz", and a cross-exhibition of Russian and Turkish artists in St. Petersburg and Istanbul.

Also, in the framework of the festival, an information desk on St. Petersburg was opened in Ankara.

Director General of Ambassador Hotel -- a sponsor of the festival -- stressed that "St. Petersburg - Turkey" would not be a one-time event, but a serious long-term cultural project.

"Saint Petersburg and Ankara have planned to develop partnerships and expand cooperation in the field of tourism. The parties agreed to work together to promote the tourism potential of St. Petersburg in the domestic and foreign markets of Ankara," he said.

The festival will last until the end of 2019.

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