Foreigners do not come to Russia because of the visas
Visa formalities, as one of the main reasons of the weak development of tourism in Russia, are named by the vice-president of Russian Union of Travel Industry Yuri Barzykin at a press conference to the “RIA Novosti”.
Despite the vast cultural and historical potential, rich natural and recreational opportunities, Russia occupies probably the last place in the ranking of countries attractive for tourism.
The tourism industry consider this situation so serious that the Russian Union of Travel Industry has signed and sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a proposal to establish a joint working group to discuss issues and compiling a workable solution.
As noted by Yuri Barzykin: “If last year's inbound tourism in the whole world-wide rose by 6.9%, but our increase was only 2%, which generally is within the relative error.”
So, summing up the beginning of the year, the Federal State Statistics Service notes that within the first three months of 2011 the number of tourists from Finland fell by 24%, from Germany – by 19%, from Spain and France – by 16%, etc.
At the same time, there is evidence that permission to stay in Russia without a visa for 72 hours has increased the inflow of tourists traveling on ferries and cruise ships at 1 million.
“As soon as between Russia and other country visa-free regime comes into force, the number of tourists increases. For example, the flow from Argentina and Brazil grew by 30%. Opposite example – Visa Centre of Russia has opened in Spain, and immediately all the Spanish tour operators have lost their accreditation, the time for obtaining a visa increased. As a result the number of tourists decreased by 19%,” – said another participant of the press conference – CEO of travel company “Svoy TT” Sergei Voitovich.
As the expert noted, the abolition or simplification of visa formalities will not cost much money for Russia. At the same time the financial impact of such innovations will be significant. In the meantime, the data are such that over the past year Russian tourists spent abroad about 26.5 billion dollars and foreign tourists brought to Russia only 8.9 billion.