Russia & India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & e-Visas to Russia from 2021

Russia has offered India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & E-visas to Russia slated to start in 2021. Tourism professionals of the two countries discussed the expansion of air connectivity between Russia and India, the mutual promotion of tourism between the two countries, as well as the facilitation of the visa regime between the countries, including preparations for the introduction of an electronic visa in Russia since 2021 and the possibility of introducing group visa-free travel between the countries.This proposal was made by the head of the Federal tourism Agency Zarina Doguzova during the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue in Delhi. The Indian side expressed interest in the joint development of a draft government agreement on visa-free group travel for up to 21 days.

According to the press service of the Federal Tourism Agency, the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue is taking place in India, within the framework of which a round table “Tourism and inter-territorial communication” was held on July 10, 2019. The moderator of this event, dedicated to the development of tourism between Russia and India, was the head of the Federal Agency for tourism Zarina Doguzova. The round table was also attended by Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).

As a result of the round table, it was decided to establish a joint working group between representatives of the tourism authorities of the two countries, representatives of business and the expert community to develop a joint action plan to increase tourism exchanges. According to forecasts, in the future, mutual tourist flows may exceed 1 million people annually.
Mutual steps to increase tourism exchanges between the countries Zarina Doguzova discussed during a working meeting with the Minister of tourism of India Prahlad Singh Patel. The Indian side expressed interest in the proposal of the Federal tourism Agency to jointly develop a draft agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the Republic of India on visa-free group travel for up to 21 days.

The parties also agreed to consider the possibility of expanding the geography of direct flights by countries. In addition, the Russian Federation proposed to carry out mutual information and marketing campaigns to promote tourist destinations among the citizens of the two countries. Zarina Doguzova and Prahlad Singh Patel expressed their readiness to jointly lead the working group on tourism between the countries.

The opportunity to provide tourists from India with specialized food is only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so the food is almost always organized on-site – in a restaurant, not in a hotel. At the same time, there is a certain shortage of such facilities, and the ‘Indian-Friendly’ program clearly needs to be expanded and developed, market participants noted.
The first meeting of the group can be held in September 2019 in Vladivostok within the framework of the Eastern economic forum (WEF).

Source: ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia)