Russia & China reinstate agreement on visa-free group trips

 Wednesday, February 22, 2023 


An agreement on visa-free group trips has been reinstated between Russia and China. The Russian Economic Development Ministry states that “the agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the People’s Republic of China on visa-free group tourism visits of February 29, 2000 has been reinstated after being suspended over the new coronavirus infection pandemic.”

The Russian Economic Development Ministry must obtain a list of Chinese tour companies organising group tours under the agreement and provide it to the Border Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in order to allow entry of Chinese tourists to Russia. The Russian Ministry expects this from the Chinese Culture and Tourism Ministry in the near future.

Chinese overseas tour operators will soon start organising group tours to Russia for Chinese people.

Around 2.3 million Chinese tourists visited Russia in 2019, with over half of them utilising visa-free entry.

China accounted for 6.6% of Russia’s total number of foreign tourist arrivals that year. Before transit was halted due to the Covid pandemic, around 2 million Russian tourists travelled to China that year.

The bilateral agreement permits organised tourist groups of five to fifty persons to visit each other’s country without a visa and remain for up to 15 days.

Chinese visitors will typically be divided into two groups, with at least half going to Russia’s border areas to buy commodities and build trade networks, and the other half going to cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Russians follow a similar trend, travelling to Harbin and Beijing for small business and elsewhere for tourism.

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