Economy Ministry Proposes $1.53bn Investment in Russian Tourism

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has laid out a roadmap for developing a strategy for the tourism industry over the next six years, which proposes up to 100 billion rubles ($1.53 billion) in funding until 2024, a federal official told business newspaper Vedomosti.

According to the official, these funds would come from already approved programs, as well as from additional sources.

The contribution of tourism to the global gross domestic product (GDP) is 11%, whereas in Russia it is only 5% of GDP, the newspaper notes. According to Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, tourism can be one of the fastest growing areas in the Russian economy.

Together with regional leaders, the Minister has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to introduce an electronic visa mechanism in Moscow and St. Petersburg as a pilot, a federal official told Vedomosti. A representative of the Ministry of Economic Development confirmed the letter’s existence to the newspaper. According to the official, the head of state-supported this approach, but only if a specific implementation arrangement is worked out with the regions and security agencies. The goal is to launch the mechanism in 2020.

In addition, to boost tourism in Russia, regions together with business, experts, architects, and marketing experts will create a concept for a single brand, a comprehensive development plan, standards of hospitality and quality of services. For compliance with these standards, businesses would receive additional support and would be included in promotional programs on national and international levels, the source said.

Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), told Vedomosti that details regarding the regulation of the tour operator business remain unclear. According to her, the goal is obviously to restore order, but given the current state of the market, any excessive clampdown could have a boomerang effect, driving down business stability.