St. Petersburg was the big winner at this year’s World Travel Awards show. Judges awarded two of the annual competition’s top prizes to Russia’s “cultural capital.”
Not only did St. Petersburg win the title for the “World’s Leading City Destination” in 2017, it also took the prize for the “World’s Leading Cultural City Destination.” St. Petersburg’s only major competition this year was the Vietnamese island Phu Quoc.
This isn’t the first time St. Petersburg has been honored as an exceptional travel destination this year. Indeed, earlier this year St. Petersburg was selected to host the World Travel Awards’ Europe Gala Ceremony, in which it also won the prize for “Europe’s Leading City Destination.”
Andrei Mushkarev, the head of St. Petersburg’s tourism industry, said he wasn’t surprised at all by these high honors. When people visit the “Venice of the North,” it’s hard to deny the city’s “tourist potential,” Mushkarev said.
Over the past few years, St. Petersburg has worked hard to build up its tourism infrastructure and attract global visitors. With about seven million visitors in 2017 alone, it seems that all of those efforts are paying off.
Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city with about 5 million residents. Peter the Great used European models when he was designing this great city in the early 1700s. During the Soviet era, St. Petersburg’s name changed to Petrograd (1914-1924) and then to Leningrad (1924-1991).
The most popular attraction in the city is the Hermitage Museum. This massive museum, which includes the Romonov’s Winter Palace, is the largest in the world and includes great works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Matisse, just to name a few.
The World Travel Awards was founded in 1993 to access the world’s best travel destinations. Judges who work for this awards ceremony look at various factors for each city they select, including transportation, the local hotel industry, and the quality of hospitality services.