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Study Shows Tourism a Major Source of GDP

The tourism industry contributes more to Russia’s gross domestic product than car and chemical manufacturing, according to a study released Wednesday by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The industry’s contribution was 3.4 trillion rubles ($106 billion) in 2011, which accounts for 5.9 percent of GDP, compared with the 4.8 percent and 3.3 percent shares of the car manufacturing and chemicals sectors, respectively.

This percentage is pretty high for a European country, said Olivia Ruggles Brise, director of policy and research at the council.

The European average is 8 percent, but more manufacturing-focused countries — such as Germany, where tourism’s share of GDP is 4 percent — have lower numbers

The revenues of Russia’s tourism sector are only expected to grow. The study forecasts that the industry’s contribution to GDP will increase by 4 percent each year over the next decade, which is faster than the expected growth rate for the whole economy.

“The percent share is probably not going to increase radically, but there are great tourism opportunities in Russia,” Ruggles Brise said.

However, the country still struggles to draw foreign tourists.

According to the study, 77 percent of the tourism sector’s revenue in 2011 was from domestic travelers.

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