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Japanese visa courtesy
Tourists from which country won the most from simplification of obtaining visas to a free port
Photo: Ovchinnikova Irina / Shutterstock.com
1 August came into force the Federal Law allowing foreign citizens to enter the territory of the Free Port of Vladivostok under a simplified visa regime. To issue a visa for up to 8 days, now it's enough for 4 days before the visit to apply online, on Special website.
The site went live on August 8. During the week from the start, 362 electronic visas were issued to citizens of 11 countries, said Pavel Volkov, State Secretary - Deputy Minister for Development of the Far East. “Two countries are in the lead - China and Japan. Most e-visas have been issued to Chinese citizens. 166 people received it. Japan is in second place. Electronic visa has been approved for 115 citizens of this country. In third place is Morocco with 50 issued visas, ”the official said. Also, applications from citizens of 8 more countries were approved: Algeria (11 people), India (6 people), Tunisia (4 people), Singapore (3 people), Iran (2 people), Saudi Arabia (2 people), United Arab Emirates (2 person) and Kuwait (1 person).
While under the new scheme to get to Russia it is possible only through two checkpoints in Primorye - the seaport of Vladivostok and through Knevichi airport. The first tourist, who entered the electronic visa through Knevichi, was a Saudi national who flew from Dalian. And 11 August in Vladivostok, according to a simplified procedure, the first tourist from China arrived.
- During the first half of 2017, Primorye was visited by 186 thousands of tourists from the People's Republic of China. The increase in tourist arrivals from this country is still stable, - said the director of the tourism department of Primorsky Krai Konstantin Shestakov. - The increase in tourist flow from the Republic of Korea is 80% compared to the same period last year. Primorye for the first half of 2017, 35 was visited by thousands of tourists from this country. We are seeing an explosive growth in tourist traffic from Japan. In the first half of this year, thousands of Japanese visited 7,2 in Primorye, whereas in the same period last year, thousands of Japanese tourists visited 3. Growth was 137%. Over the past year, 8,7 has been visited by thousands of Japanese tourists from the region.
On the growth of the tourist flow from Japan, the initiators of the introduction of a simplified visa processing system have the greatest hopes. After all, of the three countries whose citizens travel the Far East more often, the residents of this country have benefited more from the innovation than the others.
- The main flow of tourists from China came under the agreement on a group visa-free exchange, - explained Vitaly Selyukov, Deputy Minister, Head of the Tourism Department of the Khabarovsk Territory. - The situation with South Korea is practically the same: an agreement was signed on a short-term visa-free stay in Russia. And for the Japanese, there was no simplified option for obtaining a visa before. Therefore, Japanese tourists have benefited more from the new visa procedure than Chinese or Korean tourists.
To issue a visa to Russia for the Japanese is now not only easier, but also cheaper. Tourists will no longer have to pay a consular fee. Now, depending on the urgency, it ranges from 50 to 150 dollars.
How much will grow the flow of tourists from other 15 countries included in the list of simplified visa regime, while no one can predict. However, the expectations are optimistic.
- I will give one example. Most recently our Khabarovsk Territory was visited by representatives of the tourist business of India. And we did not even expect that the Indians will have such a huge interest in our tourist potential, "says Vitaly Selyukov. - After this visit, several Khabarovsk companies have already concluded agreements on work with the largest tour operators in India. Our companies held talks with Indian tour operators on organizing tours to Khabarovsk Krai and within the framework of Kotfa, an international tourist exhibition that is held annually in Seoul. As it turned out, Indians are very interested in the vastness of the Okhotsk Sea, the Shantar archipelago, our rivers, fishing, hunting. Therefore, I would not be surprised if tourists from Spain or Colombia come to visit us. If India is interested in tours to us, to Khabarovsk, it proves: we can establish relations with anyone.
For the first half of the year 2017 Khabarovsk Territory visited almost 13 thousand foreign tourists. In 2016, the region was visited by 36 thousand guests from abroad. Most of them are Chinese citizens (23,2 thousand people) and the Republic of Korea (8,3 thousand people).
Since 1 January 2018 on the electronic visa it will be possible to arrive in two Far-Eastern regions - to Kamchatka and to the Sakhalin region. To this end, Pavel Volkov said, the 11 border checkpoints will operate. Next year, it is planned to open railway checkpoints "Pogranichny", "Khasan", "Makhalino", automobile checkpoints "Poltavka", "Turiy Rig", sea checkpoints "Zarubino", "Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky", "Korsakov" and " Posiet. "