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City news, 29.06.2006 13:50
Tourists to be Saved By City’s New AngelsBy Evgenia Ivanova
Foreign tourists may have less trouble on the streets of St. Petersburg when an “Angels Service” begins to patrol the city on Wednesday, according to City Hall.
Having spotted Angels in “I Can Help” T-shirts, tourists will be able to approach them and receive qualified help on how to get to places, where to shop and what to do in emergency situations.
“The service employees work on the streets of St. Petersburg in pairs,” reads a press release from the tourism department of the city’s committee on investment and strategic projects, the initiative’s organizer. “They speak foreign languages, are competent, efficient and, most importantly, provide information to tourists free of charge,” it continues.
The project is part of the St. Petersburg 2005-2010 development program, on the completion of which the city hopes to receive 5 million visitors every year, said Nana Gvichiya, deputy director of the city’s tourist information center.
Maria Chernobrovkina, the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce, which acted as an advisor to the city administration on the launch of the initiative, said that their motivation was primarily based on concerns over the security of foreigners visiting St. Petersburg.
“The security of foreigners [in the city] is one of a number of burning issues,” Chernobrovkina said Monday in a telephone interview.
The issue of language is also a major concern, she said.
“If, say, [a tourist’s] purse is stolen, very often the foreigner just doesn’t know what to do and who to go to for help. The procedures exist but, very often, nobody seems to be able to provide any information on how to use them,” Chernobrovkina said.
“The service’s aim is not, of course, to drive off criminal attacks, but to provide information to tourists concerning what to do in such cases so they don’t feel neglected and lost,” Chernobrovkina added.
The initiative’s organizers stress that their service will be available to Russian travelers as well as foreigners.
The Angels were named after the city’s most prominent symbol, the golden angel crowning the top of the highest building in St. Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
News source: times.spb.ru
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