The Russian capital has been named the world's leading city destination in 2019 by the World Travel Awards in a ceremony held at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman.
Moscow competed with other cities in three categories: "World's Leading Festival and Event Destination," "World's Leading Sports Tourism Destination," and" World's Leading City Destination." The Russian capital got the highest number of votes in the last category, and won this prize for the first time.
Observers agreed that Moscow deservedly won the contest, and fairly competed against tourism capitals, such as London, Paris, New York, Lisbon, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and others cities.
Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin shared the good news on his Instagram account, with a picture of Moscow and a caption reading: "It is truly the best city on Earth. We got one of the most prestigious tourism awards. We won the Oscar for the best tourism destination in the world."
Over the past two decades, the city has witnessed extensive construction and maintenance works, including the reorganization and improvement of its main streets, and the elimination of random kiosks that were scattered on the sidewalks. Dozens of new parks have also been opened, and sidewalks have been expanded in historic areas to allow tourists to wander freely around the city's cultural monuments dating back to several eras.
More than 20 million foreign tourists from around the world visit Moscow every year, in addition to tens of millions of visitors a day coming from other regions in Russia and the former Soviet republics.
The city of Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad), a historical treasure with its unique monuments, was among the winners as well. It was named the "World's Leading Cultural City Destination". The World's Leading Airlines prize went to the Russia’s Aeroflot.