Test introduction of electronic visas in St. Petersburg in 2020
According to the chairman of the city tourism development committee Evgeny Pankevich, St. Petersburg authorities are planning to introduce the system of electronic visas and simplified visa procedures in the city in 2020.
Earlier, the Deputy Economic Development Minister Sergei Galkin reported that Moscow and St. Petersburg could join the pilot project for issuing electronic visas to foreign citizens who would purchase tourist services at the new electronic platform that is currently being developed. It was also announced the launch of a tourist marketplace where foreigners will be able to get e-visas to Russia while acquiring tourist services.
“In our opinion, this is a very good idea to create digital platforms, solutions and a marketplace, where a visa and a tourist product are all combined. It is also a good marketing tool,” Pankevich said, adding that there is now a selection of tourist products that could be included in such an electronic platform.
The simplified entry procedure is considered to be one of the main measures stimulating the development of the tourism industry in St. Petersburg. According to official data, 8.2 million people, 3.9 million of which were foreign tourists, visited the northern capital in 2018. The growth of tourist traffic in the city amounted to 9.3% in 2018 compared with 2017. Earlier, the St. Petersburg city tourism development committee noted that the introduction of electronic visas for foreign visitors could lead to an increase in tourist flow by 30%, which means at least 2 million additional visits to the city annually.