Saint Petersburgh launched the preparation of the accommodation stock for the FIFA World Cup 2018. The city will be visited by the record influx of tourists, so authorities are reflecting on how to assist hoteliers in welcoming all the guests. In February the Duma is planning to consider a statutory ban on rendering hotel services in the living accommodation of apartment blocks. If the ban is passed, Saint-Petersburg will be short in almost all the hostels. For now the city numbers nearly 350 hostels, 80% of which are allocated in the living accommodation.
Illicit activities quite often take place under the guise of hostels
The ‘Vecherniy Peterburg’ publication points out benefits of hostels. Customers, while saving on the accommodation, spend the same amount of money as tourists staying in expensive hotels, so hostels refill the municipal budget. They also bare a social function as during the academic year nonresident students stay there. Due to that fact the problem of the shortage of students’ dormitories is partially solved.
Of course, there are some disadvantages, according to the Head of the Department for Legal Expertise of the Analytical Center Marina Labozina. “If a hostel is allocated in apartment blocks, residents complain. Moreover, such things as the hostel accommodation of customers without citizenship status or illegal activities under the guise of hostels often take place.
The Tourism Development Committee of Saint Petersburgh is sure that the GOST standards for hostels make it possible to solve current problems ‘peacefully’ as the standards specify services and their level, which should be provided. Furthermore, the GOST standards oblige ‘hosteliers’ to respect rights of neighbors, fire safety regulations, sanitary and hygiene, environmental and other standards in apartment blocks, where hostels are allocated.
In July 2015 the Analytical Center conducted a Round-Table Discussion “Legal Regulation of Small Accommodation Means"