Russia has been one of the most popular choices for Indians, be it in terms of education or travel. In order to make travel easier, the federal government of Russia is working on a plan to provide visa-free travel to Indians. As the plans for the same are still in progress, meanwhile Russia would soon be bringing the e-visa facility for Indian tourists.
Ms. Alina Arutyunova, Deputy Chairman of Moscow City Tourism, who was in Mumbai a few days back, interacted with a popular daily to announce the initiative of the Russian Government. She stated, “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”.
According to her, India, Turkey, and Germany are the top three non-CIS countries from which Russia experience the largest percentage of tourism.
She further shared that in 2020, the Russian legislation had passed the resolution for electronic visas to visitors from 52 countries including India. However, due to the international restriction imposed across the world due to Covid-19, the resolution could not be enforced. She laid out her expectations that the facility for e-visa would be launched soon and help in simplifying the travel for foreign citizens.
The statistics of the Federal Agency for Tourism state that between 2016 and 2019, the number of tourists from India to Moscow had phenomenally increased from approximately 61,000 to 1 Lakh, every year. Even after the covid-setback, in 2021, tourism in Moscow from Russia showcased a recovery of 40% of that of the pre-pandemic level, out of which 48% travelled twice in the same year.
The Russian visa policy is found to be the primary reason for the increase in Indian visitors to Moscow.
Ms. Arutyunova recalled the stats and closed her statement with: “… 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.”
India and Russia have been close allies of each other for several decades. With the rapidly advancing globalisation and easier interconnection, Indians are now vigorously exploring Russia as a new destination for tourism. Recently, the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narender Modi had met with his Russian counterpart, Mr. Vladamir Putin, on the sidelines of the SCO summit. There are likeable chances the new e-visa system would be formally introduced.