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Vladimir Putin wants to simplify visa formalities in Russia

As a symbol of a certain appetite among foreigners to visit the federation, the number of international arrivals in Russia increased by 7.3% between 2007 and 2016. However, over the same period, the trend was 35.3% worldwide. If Russia succeeds in developing its tourist appeal, certain obstacles hinder tourists, such as the many procedures for obtaining a visa. An obstacle that Vladimir Putin has announced he is working on.

The Russian president announced at the Business Russia forum that he wanted to simplify the visa regime that curbs the expansion of tourism in the federation.

First, with the development of the e-Visa throughout the country by 2021, which will make it possible to buy tourist products online. In particular, free electronic visas were introduced in recent years to allow tourists from countries such as China, Japan, India and Iran to visit three regions of the Russian Far East (Primorye, Sakhalin and Kamchatka).

In a second step, a bill was introduced concerning the partial abolition of entry visas for foreign tourists. Germany and Italy could be affected and their citizens would be able to stay in Russia without a visa for 14 days. It should be noted that Germanics already represent a loyal clientele to the federation and in 2017 they were the capital's main source market. 

The abolition of visas, a winning measure for tourism

According to the Russian Federal Tourism Agency, foreign visitors from European and North American countries have stagnated or declined in recent years. It indicates that between 2015 and 2014, "the share of tourists from the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania and Denmark fell 20% (for the Dutch) and 49% (for the Danes)." At the same time, Asian clientele increased sharply over the same period, with increases of 23% for Taiwan, 21% for China, 18% for Hong Kong and 13% for South Korea.

Russia, a future tourism giant?

One of the reasons why Russia is experiencing an increase in these clientele is related to the ease of obtaining a visa. Indeed, for a Frenchman to obtain a visa to visit Russia many formalities are involved: completing forms, having a tourist invitation to Russia, having repatriation insurance, etc. Using the services of a specialized agency or taking the steps yourself requires several weeks before obtaining your visa. At the same time, Russia is developing diplomatic relations with some Asian countries and free electronic visas have been granted for citizens of some of these countries.

The European Travel Commission (ETC), meanwhile, published a report calculating  Spending  by Chinese nationals to be 12.5 billion euros higher in the EU if they did not need a visa to come to Europe.

 

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