The resignation of the head of the St. Petersburg Committee on tourism development Andrew Muscaria can put an end to the project of creating a city cruise operator, worth about 9 billion rubles.
Andrew Muscari, photos Alexander Koryakov/Kommersant
Andrew Pushkarev became the first head of the tourism Committee of the Northern capital, who came to this post from the business. In the two years of its work the number of tourists increased by 15%, St.-Petersburg has twice earned the “tourist "Oscar"”– the award World travel awards. Got a development project to create a city cruise operator, which can now hang at the level of concept.
The news of his dismissal, the head of the tourism Committee received on the morning of 28 may, the Committee of state service and personnel policy, and, apparently, it has become for him a complete surprise — even before he took part in the celebration of the city Day, and the end of the week, on behalf of the Smolny was signed the agreement at the St. Petersburg international economic forum. The reason for the dismissal, according to officials, he explained. “Neither the first nor the second person of the city has not given me this honour,” commented Andrey Pushkarev.
The Governor Georgy Poltavchenko has been a good reason. He went on vacation from 28 may to 2 June. Contact Vice-Governor Oleg Markov, in charge of the tourism Committee, “Fontanka” has failed. In his office, announced that Andrew Muscari “who was dismissed for a single gross violation of duties”, but what exactly is the violation, refused to explain. In a press-service of the Governor at the request of “Fontanka” about the reasons of resignation did not answer, but said that acting Andrew Muscaria will be his Deputy Nana Gvichiya.
Sam Andrew Muscari suggests that could fall victim to hardware struggle. “I — man, who came to the Smolny not from some group of people, and just got here for tourism, I don’t have the support of influential groups. Perhaps someone need to hold my place,” he said.
People out of business
Before coming to Smolny in June 2016 Andrew Pushkarev worked as a marketing Director at the ferry company St. Peter Line, and also held the position of General Director of the transport and tourism companies, ZAO “Intercontinental marine” and JSC “Inflot travel service”, was the head of the office of VisitRussia in Helsinki.
Previous work experience has largely determined the priorities of Andrew Muscaria. Among the major projects for the development of tourism, which he said in 2017, there were plans for development of sea and river cruise tourism.
Work on these projects could be, if not the cause, the reason for the resignation, according to market participants. Last year the tourism Committee has ordered a market research consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers over 20 million rubles. But then the Committee of state financial control (the Park app is the) found that analysts ‘ estimates are far from market realities. Andrew Muscari then stood up for the contractor. “The work was made with particular bugs, but these are adjustments that you can continue to use dialogue,” he said. According to some, the Park app is the check was initiated by Vice-Governor Oleg Markov.
For the participants of the tourist market the resignation of Andrew Muscaria was a shock. “I saw him just three days ago, at the economic forum and discussed future plans, not about the resignation,” — said the owner of the hotel “Helvetia” Eunice Teymurkhanli. “Remove the head of the Committee on the eve of the world Cup — it’s weird. Some errors that would require immediate dismissal, I do not see”, – adds Sergey Bolisov, CEO of the boutique hotel Rossi Hotel & Spa. “For the last time, a lot has changed leaders Committee, and this was the most striking,” says Andrei Kuznetsov, General Director of GC “Astramarin”.
According to market participants, Andrey Pushkarev did a good job on the image. “The city in these years actively promoted in foreign markets”, – said General Director of “Petrotur” Igor speakers: Igor mazulov. “Petersburg stands at international exhibitions began to look dignified,” – said Yuri Bogdanov, the CEO of the company “TEZ Tur Severo-Zapad”.
In Andrew Muscaria Petersburg twice been named “travel "Oscar"”– the award World travel awards, and became the first Russian city, which was entrusted to hold the ceremony. With the support of the Committee in the city were running a food festival and many other events that promote tourist attraction in 2020, on the banks of the Neva river will host the international Congress of chefs.
The number of tourists also increased. If in 2015 Petersburg was visited by 6.5 million people in 2017- 7.5 million people. However, to assess the contribution of the Committee on tourism is difficult, said Sergei Bolisov. According to the top Manager, the ideas of the Committee on development of cruise tourism was “quite common”, but the initiative will have an effect far not at once. “It is hard to judge, it is personal merit, or the command, but the effect was clearly”, — says the General Director of the Petersburg branch of “Intourist” Alexander Musikhin.
Failure on the Chinese front
But there are still unsolved problems. According to Igor Mazulov, the team of Andrey Muscaria are unable to defeat the shadow market of Chinese tourism, although promised to do it. Despite the overall increase in the number of guests, tourists became less. “A little showy, a little work with the business,” he concluded. Previously, the League of tour operators, which includes “Petrotur”, questioned the growth of the tourist flow.
The Committee on tourism has failed to mitigate the effects of the bill Duma Deputy Galina Khovanskaya banning of mini hotels in residential buildings. Officials then offered the business to rent 41 premises for hostels without bidding. “But in the end it turned out that it is cheaper to negotiate with private owners than with the city,” says Alain ANOVA, the owner of the hostel is “Taiga”.
The operators of tours in the rivers and canals previously criticized the idea of the Committee to Rob them of part of the piers and make them public.
The resignation of Andrew Muscaria can slow down projects for the development of tourism, initiated by the official, fear market participants. If the new river terminal the city has already found investors the project of creating cruise ferry operator can be frozen. “Do not be surprised if this project is canceled, anything can be. I would actually paved the whole Bay!” – skeptical CEO of GC “Astramarin” Andrey Kuznetsov.
During the last SPIEF Smolny was signed the agreement with the Kaliningrad oblast on cooperation in creating their own cruise ferry company, but specific plans are not yet announced. Earlier the Committee on tourism, admitted that without Federal support, namely benefits for such an operator, a project worth 9 billion roubles will be financially insolvent.
According to market participants, the implementation of the idea will largely depend on who will replace Andrew Muscaria. According to interlocutors of “Fontanka”, the candidacy of acting head of the Committee Nana of Guichi as the permanent shape is not obvious. One of the possible candidates — the former head of the subdivision of the Committee for tourism of the “City tourist-information Bureau” Evgeniy Pankevich, who is now the Deputy head of the Moscow district. He did not comment on the possibility of returning to the Committee. “I work with the Deputy head of the district. Today so,” he said. Also among the candidates for Muscaria call the present Chairman of the Committee on industrial policy Maxim Maxine – Ivan Skladchikov.
Andrew Muscari the question about their future is also left unanswered. “Too early to say. In a sense, and I hope I will be able to help the country”, he concluded.