Japanese, Russian Tourist Organizations Sign Cooperation Deal

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RATA) have signed an agreement on cooperation in Tokyo on Tuesday, BigAsia.ru reported.

The two sides agreed to organize joint events for developing tourism and increasing tourism flows between the two countries.

“Thanks to this agreement we will be able to better explore the Russian market, which, in turn, will lead to the development of tourism exchanges between our countries, as well as friendship and cooperation. We will exert every effort to reach the set goal to increase the tourism flow from Russia to 200,000 people by 2023,” JNTO President Satoshi Seino said at the signing ceremony.

President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Sergei Shpilko reiterated, for his part, that today Japan is implementing the plan to increase the number of trips of Japanese tourists to Russia. “We are working with many countries, but none of them has a specific plan of sending tourists to Russia, so we are obliged for our part to do all that is possible to implement this plan,” Shpilko added.

In January 2017, Japan’s authorities eased the regime of issuing visas to Russian citizens in compliance with the agreement dedicated to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016. As a result, the number of tourists from Russia who visited Japan increased by 40.8% in 2017 when compared to 2016 and stood at more than 77,000 people. The number of Japanese tourists in Russia exceeded 100,000 during the same period.

In October last year the Japanese side also introduced an eased visa regime for Russian tourists who visit the country within organized groups under package tours.

In 2018, the number of Russian tourists who entered Japan grew by 22.7% and reached 94,800, while 120,000 Japanese citizens visited Russia in the same time frame. After a meeting with Putin in January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan and Russia intend to double the joint tourism flow by 2023, up to 400,000 people.