Russia Hounds India on Visa-Free Tourism

Russia Hounds India on Visa-Free Tourism
Russia Hounds India on Visa-Free Tourism
Written by Harry Johnson

According to Russian official, reaching an agreement with India could mirror the scheme seen in visa-free tourism schemes with China and Iran.

According to the Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Russia and India are set to commence discussions regarding the possibility of visa-free travel for tourist groups next month, aiming to finalize a bilateral agreement by the conclusion of the year.

In his speech at the International Economic Forum ‘Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum 2024’ held last week, Russian government representative emphasized that reaching an agreement with India could mirror the achievements seen in visa-free tourism partnerships with China and Iran.

The official from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development stated that there has been progress in the process of group visa-free travel. The Indian side has responded, expressing that they are currently in the final phase of internal coordination. Russia anticipates that the initial consultations to discuss the draft agreement will take place in June. Furthermore, the official mentioned that they have plans to finalize the deal by the conclusion of this year.

This proposal for Russia-India visa-free tourism was initially brought up in 2022 by Russia’s Vladimir Putin during a meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, with Putin stressing the need for expediting negotiations on this matter.

Russia launched visa-free group tourism with China and Iran in August of the last year. Subsequently, there has been a significant increase in travel between the nations, according to Russian official data.

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), visitors from China made up nearly half of the visitors to Russia in the opening quarter of 2024. The statistics reveal that in general, foreign arrivals have more than tripled in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year. The other top-five inbound tourism sources for Russia were Turkmenistan, Turkey, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Currently, there is a significant rise in the number of visitors from China and the Middle East, as indicated by Russian telecommunications operator Megafon’s roaming data. Megafon reports that the influx of Chinese tourists at the start of 2024 has increased by 2.5 times compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the preferred destinations for Chinese tourists, with these cities and their surrounding regions accounting for over 57% of all travel.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

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About the author

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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