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Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022
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MUMBAI: Russia might introduce a visa-free regime for Indian tourist groups, said Alina Arutyunova, deputy chairman of Moscow city tourism committee, who was in Mumbai on Tuesday. For now though, Russia is set to soon introduce e-visa for Indian tourists.
“The President of the Russian Federation has supported an initiative to introduce a visa-free regime for group tourists. Such an order has already been received for Iran on Tuesday. It’s possible that the same assignment will soon be for India,” she said.
Turkey, Germany and India are the top three non-CIS countries that send the largest volume of tourists to Moscow, Arutyunova said.
“In 2020, a resolution was passed on the introduction of electronic visas for 52 countries, including India. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the resolution has not yet entered into force, but we very much expect that the project will be launched soon, and e-visa will simplify the process of arrival of foreign tourists,” Arutyunova said.
When asked about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, she said: “Even in the case of worldwide uncertainty, tourism is a bridge between peoples and cultures. This year, during the first six months, Moscow hosted 13,300 Indians. It is expected that the pre-pandemic figures will be reached by the end of 2023.”
Between 2016 and 2019, tourist traffic from India to Moscow had grown from 61,000 annual visitors to over a lakh. Arutyunova said in 2021, traffic recovered to 40% of the pre-pandemic level. Interestingly, they observed that of the Indian travellers who visited Moscow in 2021, 48% went there twice that year.
A travel agent explained that in 2021, Russia was one of the few countries that did not demand quarantine on arrival, and a number of Indians had flown there after the Sputnik V vaccine was introduced.

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