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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) - which accommodated winning Champions League finalists Manchester United in its Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Centre - has called on Russian authorities to relax entry visa restrictions after its successful handling of the football match.
”The Russian authorities have done a sterling job fast-tracking its complex visa process to ensure the 50,000 British soccer fans who went to Moscow could get there at short notice - we applaud their actions,” said IHG chief operating officer Continental Europe Robin Wicks.
”This goes to show it can be done, but Russia”s current visa process is simply far too slow and is seriously hampering the emerging tourist trade. By adopting similar measures to those used for the Manchester United and Chelsea fans, the volume of tourism traffic could dramatically rise.”
Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Centre is one of six IHG properties opened in the emerging Russian market. The group has a further ten hotels signed and in development.
”The passenger flow at Moscow International airports is booming; up from 19m in 2002 to more than 33m in 2006 ” and planned airport expansion will increase capacity to more than 85m by 2012,” added Wicks.
”Russia is gearing up for a surge in tourism. Lifting the visa restrictions and embracing low-cost airlines will spark that boom. It”s the perfect time to do it.”