Russia-China visa-free travel scheme imminent – Moscow

11 months ago 30

Russia is set to roll out visa-free travel schemes for groups of tourists with China and Iran “in matter of days,” Russian Economic Development Minister Maksim Reshetnikov has said.

The minister made the announcement on Wednesday during an intra-ministerial meeting on tourism. The schemes are expected to boost the flow of tourists into the country, which is estimated to reach 10 million people this year, Reshetnikov stated.

“In order to quickly organize travel across Russia, we will have electronic visas from August 1, and by the same date we plan to launch the group visa-free trips with Iran and China,” the minister said, adding that Moscow has already agreed on the lists of tour operators with the two countries, and the first groups of tourists are expected to arrive “in a matter of days.”

Russia and China had a visa-free scheme in place since the early 2000s, which allowed organized tourist groups of up to 50 people to visit the neighboring country and stay there for up to 15 days without visas. The agreement was suspended in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moscow is also working to boost air travel to the country, which has been hampered due to the Western sanctions imposed over the conflict with Ukraine. Currently, Russia has direct flights to and from more than 30 nations, according to Reshetnikov.

The ministry has been working with its counterparts from Russia’s Transport Ministry and Rosaviation air transport agency to introduce new destinations, namely from the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, Reshetnikov said.

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