Despite the disintegration of its empire, Russia is still huge - stretching from the borders with Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine and Turkey in the west, passing Kazakstan, Mongolia and China, to reach the Pacific Ocean some 6000km later. The landscape is predominantly flat, punctuated only by the Urals, which rise no higher than 1900m, and the more substantial ranges of the Far East. The three major rivers west of the Urals - the Dnepr, Don and Volga - all rise within 400km of Moscow and flow south into the Black and Caspian Seas. Russia's Far East is Siberia, with all its connotations of tundra, steppes, ranges, exile and mindblowing nothingness.
Due to its size, the land passes through several environmental bands. The northern forests of pine and spruce hide reindeer, wolves and brown bears. The mixed deciduous and coniferous forests are home to deer, lynx and the Siberian tiger (which has been known to wander into the suburbs of Vladivostok). The black earth steppes are the grain basket of Asia. Snow leopards, cheetahs, porcupines, gazelles, wild goats and the chamois grace the deserts of Central Asia, though pollution and fur-hunters threaten the existence of many species. There are over 140 state nature reserves, several of whose breeding programs have ensured the continued livelihood of animal species, including the European bison.
Moscow and St Petersburg share similar summer temperatures, both averaging around 24°C. Moscow is frozen by the end of November, with snow remaining until early April, and has an average January temperature of around -12°C. St Petersburg swings between lacking real darkness in summer to having only about five hours of murky light a day in winter. Its average January temperature is a sweltering -8°C. Spring in both cities brings the great thaw, the reappearance of vehicles on the road and a general sense of mayhem. Vladivostok, on Russia's Pacific coast, experiences slightly milder weather than elsewhere in the Russian Far East. Its -13°C winter temperatures seem positively balmy compared to the northeastern town of Oymyakon, which just happens to be the coldest inhabited place on earth. Its winter temperatures drop to -65°C.
Novosibirsk hosts 21 countries at this year’s 20th anniversary TourSib exhibition
TourSib, Siberia’s leading exhibition for the travel and tourism exhibition, took place on 15-17 April 2010 at the ITE Siberian Fair exhibition centre in Novosibirsk, Russia. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event, which plays an important role in promoting the development of the tourism industry in Siberia.
Over 280 exhibitors took part in TourSib 2010, representing 21 countries. New destinations showcased at the event included Israel, Vietnam, Italy, UAE, Switzerland, Maldives and Malta. Other exhibitors included leading players in the Russian tourism market, such as Tez Tour, Coral Travel, Natalie Tours, Track Travel, S7 Airlines, Mouzenidis, Neva, PAC Group, Anex Tour, Pegas Touristik, Danko, Tour Parad, South Cross, Russian Express, Inna Tour, Transaero Airlines, Ascent Travel, Capital Tour, Lanta-Tour, Roza Vetrov.
Attendance at the event reached 3,800 and included Nebojsa Koharovic, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in the Russian Federation, Plamen Stoyanov, Consul General of Bulgaria in Novosibirsk, Abdurakhim Kayumov, General Consul of Uzbekistan Republic in Novosibirsk, and other representatives of government and trade associations.
As well as the attractive stands on the exhibition floor, visitors were invited to take part in over 40 presentations of summer travel programmes, helping them shape their tourism offers over the next year.
Testimonials from the 2010 event
Vladimir Kourov, Managing Director of Acris: “The last year was rather difficult for the tourism industry throughout the whole world. But the tourism business in Russia, including the Siberian region, is developing and expanding. The annual travel exhibition, TOURSIB, presents an opportunity for travel market specialists to share experiences and make their mark on the tourism industry.”
Igor Solovjov, Head of Novosibirsk Association of Tourist Organisations: “The structure of the tourism market is changing. New participants are entering our market, IT technologies are being introduced and communication between the main participants of the travel industry is also changing. TOURSIB has always been a business platform for the region, reflecting all these processes.”