Russian region hopes meteor will spark tourism boom

6th Mar 2013

Russia's Chelyabinsk region hopes to experience a tourism boom after a meteor crashed to earth last month.

Chelyabinsk hit the headlines on Friday 15 February when a meteor broke up into several pieces around 32 miles above the earth's surface and crashed with spectacular consequences.

More than 1,000 people required treatment for minor injuries from the falling debris, which is estimated to have weighed around 10,000 tons before it shattered into pieces in the Earth's atmosphere.

Recent reports suggested meteorite hunters are already out in force, searching for small craters left in snow-covered fields in the hope of discovering meteor fragments.

Local government officials and the mayor of Chelyabinsk have jumped on the bandwagon to brainstorm tourism ideas, such as 'Meteor Disneyland' and a dive centre close to Chebarkul Lake.

Chelyabinsk city museum has hastily arranged a Meteor Day exhibition, which is said to contain newspaper cuttings and small space rocks from the day of the event.

"Space sent us a gift and we need to make use of it," Natalia Gritsay, a regional tourism official, told Bloomberg. "We need our own Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty."

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