India Should Waive Visas for Russian Tourist Groups: Rosturizm Head

The head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism Rosturizm, Zarina Doguzova, has called on India to waive visas for tourist groups from Russia, TASS reported on Wednesday from the Second Russian-Indian Strategic Economic Dialogue taking place in Delhi.

“There is an initiative that we are going to put forward on this occasion, which concerns an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and India waiving visas for tourist groups,” she said.

“E-visas are an option mostly used by individual travelers, young people in particular. At the same time, visa free travel for groups has bright prospects: it may interest older tourists who usually use the services of tour operators. There are a lot of such people out there,” Doguzova added, according to the news agency.

She pointed out that waiving visas was crucial for stepping up tourism ties between the two countries.

“As you know, on January 1, 2021, the e-visa system will be introduced in all of our country based on the president’s instruction. In this connection, we have the remainder of this year and next year to promote this option and Russia’s tourism potential,” the Rosturizm head emphasized.

The Russian proposal on visa-free entry for tourists is not a new one. In December, when Rosturizm called for the move from India, the country’s minister of tourism Joseph Alphons Kannanthanam said he welcomes the proposal, adding that in turn Moscow should do the same for the groups of Indian tourist groups visiting Russia.

“I think it is a very good idea but as I said earlier it should be on a bilateral basis. If the Russian government allows Indian tourists to come to Russia on similar terms, we would be happy to allow that,” the minister said at the time.