Saint Petersburg to lure tourists with 72-hour marriages

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Russia's second city Saint Petersburg approved Tuesday offering 72-hour marriage registration as a part of a programme by the city hall to boost tourism to the country's former capital.

The five-year tourism development programme approved by City Hall includes more aggressive advertisement of the city, offering tax-free shopping and visa-free air and rail travel for foreigners.

Among the more creative initiatives is the option of rapid marriage registration between tourists, said a spokesman for the city government.

Marriage registration takes at least a month in Russia after the couple submits an application, and many registry offices are backed up with requests, especially in the summer months.

Saint Petersburg's programme is supposed to raise the number of tourists to 8.1 million people annually, the spokesman for City Hall told AFP.

Currently Russia's second largest city of five million welcomes about five million tourists anually

© 2011 AFP

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