The Ministry of Culture supported the idea to introduce a visa-free regime for transit passengers

The Ministry of Culture supported the idea to introduce a visa-free regime for transit passengers

The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation supported the idea of the introduction of the 72-hour visa-free regime for foreign tourists traveling in transit via Russian airports.

During his speech, the head of the Ministry Vladimir Medinsky stressed the fact that “The Ministry of Culture and the Federal Agency for Tourism are ardent supporters of this idea because it will significantly stimulate the incoming tourism.”

While analyzing the experience of Russia and other countries, Medinsky noted that the liberalization of the visa regime has a direct impact on the growth of the tourist flow. For example, the abolition of visas between Russia and Korea resulted in the increase in tourist flow by 45%. The simplification of visa formalities with Turkey has also given a positive effect.

“We thought that after reducing visa formalities, the number of Russian tourists would increase but we received a great number of Turkish tourists instead. It turned out that there are rich Turks who stay in expensive hotels. The situation is the same with Iran.” – the Minister was quoted by the Interfax agency.

According to media reports, the question of the introduction of 72-hour visa-free regime for tourists from twenty countries including the USA, Australia and several European countries will be raised at the meeting of the upcoming Council of State devoted to the tourism subject.

The law on visa-free regime for transit passengers has been prepared in 2013 but due to complicated situation in the foreign policy, its adoption was postponed indefinitely.

This law includes not only a list of countries whose citizens will be able to travel to Russia without a visa but also airports that this change will affect. In particular, the list includes three Moscow airports as well as the airports of St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Samara, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. According to the experts’ expectations, the liberalization of the regime will help to increase the flow of tourists by 30% per year.

At this moment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation actively opposes this measure, believing that the introduction of the visa-free regime is possible only on the basis of reciprocity.

Monday, August 17, 2015