Federal Agency for Tourism offered to reduce the cost of Russian entry visas
According to the Russian News Service quoting the head of the Agency Oleg Safonov, the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) launched an initiative aimed at reducing the cost of entry visas to Russia.
“Now a single-entry visa to Russia costs $ 100. In our opinion, this is a very high price. Thus, we, unfortunately, reduce the quantity of foreigners who would like to visit our country”, – said Oleg Safonov during the interview with the Russian News Service. The head of the Federal Agency for Tourism offered to reduce the cost of visas to the average acceptable cost which is $ 20–30. According to Mr. Safonov, the reduction of visa cost will increase the flow of tourists visiting Russia by 40%.
Due to Mr. Safonov, the second factor increasing the flow of tourists coming to the country may be the change from paper to electronic visa service. The department has already prepared a proposal to introduce the electronic single-entry visas valid for up to 15 days. As reported on the website of the Federal Agency for Tourism, the ability to receive e-visas will be primarily available for countries providing a high percentage of foreign tourists such as the Schengen Member States, the US, UK, Japan and the countries of the International Cooperation Organizations (BRICS, EAEC, SCO).
According to the experts, the simplification of visa issuing procedures can result in increase in tourist flow by 20–30%.
In their turn, the representatives of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) argue that the cost of the visa is not fundamentally important point for foreigners visiting Russia. “The more important is either the abolition of visas or the simplification of visa issuing procedures. First of all, the introduction of so-called electronic visas or visas upon arrival which are issued directly at the airport, port, train station or in the inspection points”, – announced the vice-president of ATOR Committee on inbound tourism Alexander Kurnosov.
Currently, a number of companies favour the introduction of electronic visas and granting foreigners the possibility of a visa-free transit for up to 72 hours.