Published on : Saturday, July 27, 2019
With ambitious plans to become one of the world’s top 10 travel destinations, Russia is offering tours that are different from the beaten track. The country is also lifting visa restrictions to attract more visitors.
A year after it successfully hosted the World Cup, the ex-Soviet country is looking for new ways to attract international visitors with a goal of more than doubling tourism revenues to $25 billion by 2035.
“Young people will now be able to see Russia in a way their parents could not,” said Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators.
Visitors are attracted by Russia’s rich cultural heritage and its spectacular scenery ranging from subtropical Black Sea resorts to Siberia’s Lake Baikal and the volcanoes of Kamchatka.
The UNWTO said that almost 25 million tourists visited Russia last year, making it the world’s 16th most popular destination. The visitors largely came from the ex-Soviet bloc and China.
President Vladimir Putin has asked the government to introduce electronic visas, which are free of charge and can be issued quickly, for citizens of a number of countries.
E-visas will come into effect in October for stays of up to eight days in the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg and the surrounding region, although Russia has not yet said which countries’ citizens can apply for the same.