Russian Federal Agency for Tourism opposes the introduction of the fingerprinting for foreign tourists
According to the Interfax agency, the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism objected to the idea of introducing a mandatory fingerprinting for foreign tourists applying for visa to Russia.
“The countries of the European Union have introduced the mandatory fingerprinting for Russian tourists applying for visas. In answer to this obviously unfriendly step, it is also planned to introduce a similar system that, in our opinion, will instantly result in the decrease in the inbound tourist flow” – said the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov.
In the opinion of many experts, bureaucratic difficulties related to the procedure of Russian visa getting negatively influence the number of foreign tourists in the country, and additional formalities will only exacerbate the situation.
According to Oleg Safonov, predominantly elderly people come to Russia on tourist visas, and it will be more difficult for them to get a visa due to the small amount of Russian visa centers abroad and the introduced procedure of fingerprinting which requires them to appear in person upon the processing of their documents.
The head of the Federal Agency for Tourism is sure that now it is necessary to work in the direction of visa regime liberalization and creation of maximum comfort for foreign tourists.
While defending his opinion, Safronov noticed that last year, foreigners spent about $12 billion in Russia. Potentially, this amount can be significantly increased, in particular, due to the introduction of the visa-free regime for transit tourists, expansion of the group visa-free travels according to the same practice in China and the practice of visa-free stay of cruise ship passengers.
In turn, the Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the idea of a group visa-free exchange.
“We can do it for the whole group of the so-called BRICS countries… In general, as shown by both Russian and international experiences, the liberalization of the visa regime almost always results in the increase in tourist flows. Once canceled – the flow of people from Israel to Russia increased more than two times. From Turkey – by 41%, from the Republic of Korea – by 40%”, – said the president.