KGB Successor Claims Foreign Tourism to Russia Tripled

KGB Successor Claims Foreign Tourism to Russia Tripled
KGB Successor Claims Foreign Tourism to Russia Tripled
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Written by Harry Johnson

Alongside China, Germany and Turkey also experienced a twofold surge in tourist trips to Russia, FSB claims.

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According to the data provided by Russia’s KGB Successor – Federal Security Service (FSB), there was an increase in international tourism to Russia in 2023, despite the impact of Western sanctions imposed on Russia due to the war of aggression waged by Putin’s regime in Ukraine.

As reported by FSB, that monitors arrival and departure of foreign nationals to and from the country, last year, Russia witnessed a significant rise in the number of foreign tourists, with a total of 670,700 visits recorded. This marked a three-fold increase compared to the figures reported in 2022. Of these visits, the highest proportion, accounting for almost one-third, came from Chinese nationals, particularly after the implementation of a visa-free policy for group tours.

Alongside China, Germany and Turkey also experienced a twofold surge in tourist trips to Russia, while the United Arab Emirates and Turkmenistan rounded out the top five countries in terms of visitor numbers.

Russia’s secret state police’s data relies on the count of individuals crossing the national border. It takes into account every occurrence of a foreigner entering the country, thus calculating the total number of trips rather than the number of individuals.

In 2023, there was an 18.6% year-on-year rise in the total visits made by foreign nationals to Russia, which includes tourists. According to data from the FSB, foreigners entered Russia’s borders a total of 15.4 million times over the past year.

However, the ‘growth’ was attributed by analysts to the previous year’s low travel numbers due to COVID-19 restrictions as the reason. They further attributed the growth to Western sanctions on Russia over it’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which impacted both the banking sector and air travel.

Russian Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR)’s tourism traffic estimates for 2023, which measure individuals rather than trips, were marginally lower at 580,000 people.

Tourist industry lobby has projected a potential fourfold surge in foreign tourism to Russia in 2024, attributing this growth to the weakened ruble and the introduction of the new e-visa system. The former facilitated easier travel to Russia for citizens of 55 countries, while the latter reduced trip costs for foreigners.

About the author

Avatar of Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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