India may become one more country to sign an agreement with Russia for group visa-free travel

The number of Indian tourists coming to Russia remains at a low level – about 14,000 people annually.

The successful and proven in practice of visa-free travel for tourist groups, implemented between China and Russia, should be extended to the other BRICS countries as well, and first of all – to India, said Oleg Safonov, Head of the Federal Tourism Agency.

“The regime of visa-free travel for tourist groups between China and Russia has been proven to work, and so it makes sense to spread this to other BRICS countries too. We believe that the most promising among these – is India,” the Head of the Federal Tourism Agency told RIA Novosti.

Mr. Safonov cited data, which shows that in the first quarter of 2015, the number of foreign tourists coming to Russia increased by 16%, compared with the same period last year. Moreover, he forecasted that by year-end, this indicator would be much higher, as Chinese tourists are actively travelling to Russia.

“India already has about 300 million people that are classified as the middle class. As in the recent past, when China became the main source of tourist flows in the world, soon such a role can be played by India as well. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to initiate preparatory work in this direction, and to begin to organize the practice of visa-free travel for groups from India,” said the speaker.

He said that for now, the number of Indian tourists coming to Russia remains at a low level – about 14,000 people annually.

Safonov also expressed his hopes for long-term cooperation between Russia and Iran, in terms of tourism travel between the two countries.

First published in Russian by RIA Novosti.

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