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City news, 21.01.2004 15:21

New ferry line Helsinki - Saint-Petersburg via Tallinn will be opened

Tallink and Viking Line ferries in Helsinki, Finland. Starting in April 2004, the Estonian shipping company Tallink Grupp AS will start regular ferryboat traffic from Helsinki to St. Petersburg and back via Tallinn.

The Tallink ferry will be the second ferryboat to open a regular route to St. Petersburg after a long suspension when the city port did not receive any regular cruisers. The Silja Line Company was the first ferry line to declare opening ferryboat traffic from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in April 2004. Silja Line will make the trip with its FinnJet.

The chairman of the Tallink Grupp AS, Enn Pant believes that the tourist potential of St. Petersburg is very large. “We are sure that the new ferry route will enliven economic activity in the entire North-Western region of the Baltic Sea. The ports of Helsinki and St. Petersburg, as well as the governments of these cities, are showing their desire now to open the new route, and in the near future we hope to conclude a final agreement with them on opening the line.” Pant gave this remark during the opening of the Helsinki international tourism fair Matka 2004.

It is planned that the ferry line will carry about 300,000 passengers per year. The ferry line will operate daily, and the only time when the ferries will not enter St. Petersburg is when the ice in the Finnish Gulf of the Baltic Sea (around St. Petersburg) is too heavy.

The first trip from Tallinn to Petersburg on the Tallink Grupp AS passenger ship Fantaasia, will be done in the beginning of April. By this time Tallink hopes to solve many organizational problems, including visa and customs regulations. Vilzhar Iamu, a marketing manager at Tallink Grupp AS, said that passengers aboard the Fantaasia will have to buy visas to enter foreign ports. “We met with representatives of the embassies and consulates of Finland, Russia, and Estonia, and discussed questions of how to simplify the visa regime,” Iamu said.

Tallink’s agent and operator in St. Petersburg will be the closed joint-stock company Inflot Worldwide Saint-Petersburg. Tourist operators for Tallink will be several Petersburg tourism companies, including the the closed joint-stock company Arctur Travel, which also serves passengers from the cruise line Silja Line.

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