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Moscow to turn government offices into hotels

In a bid to decongest the city centre, the Moscow city government plans to turn federal government offices based there into hotels after the offices move to outlying areas under a city expansion plan.

Many federal officials go to work by car in the morning, creating traffic problems in the city centre. They have to leave their cars in by-streets near their place of work or near the curbs due to lack of parking lots.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin told the Vechernaya Moskva evening newspaper that apartment owners and hotel visitors would make less transportation bogs than government officials.

"I think we should make apartments and hotels there," Sobyanin said.

He said the buildings currently occupied by ministries and various agencies could be "one of the promising ways for investment". The buildings could be upgraded to include underground parking. Sobyanin said there would be three times more operating hotels in 2012 compared to last year.

The city government will also support the opening of low-cost hotels.

The TripAdvisor international tourist web portal said Moscow ranked fourth in a list of the 15 fastest growing tourist destinations in January.

City hotel prices, however, were estimated as the most expensive among European capitals.

Hotel prices in Moscow grew 8.35 percent in 2011 compared to 2010.

President Dmitry Medvedev has suggested adding 144,000 hectares of the western, southwestern and southern areas near Moscow to create a new federal region. Under Medvedev's proposal, the Russian government offices would move to the new areas to improve transportation flow in the capital.

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