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Russia launches reciprocal visa-free group tours with China, Iran

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 2nd August, 2023 01:55:17 PM
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Russia launches reciprocal visa-free group tours with China, Iran

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MOSCOW/TASS/. Russia and China are ready to receive each country’s respective tour groups on a mutual basis effective August 1 under the framework of an intergovernmental agreement for visa-free group tours. In addition, visa-free tour groups are being launched between Russia and Iran.

Visa-free group tours between Russia and China

On February 6, China resumed organized group tours, including to Russia, on a pilot basis. On February 20, the press service of Russia's Economic Development Ministry said that the Russia-China agreement on visa-free tourist group tours between the two countries had been revived after being suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts said at the time that the launch of such tours could increase the flow of Russian and Chinese tourists by two to three times. The peak of tourist flows is expected in mid-August or early-September. The experts recalled that, before the pandemic, Russia was visited by about 1-1.4 million Chinese tourists annually. Following the introduction of visa-free travel for tourist groups, about 400,000 Chinese tourists may visit Russia in 2023. According to experts, visa-free travel is the easiest and cheapest way of traveling.

Visa-free group tours between Russia and Iran

In March of this year, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said that Russia and Iran were planning to start implementing the bilateral agreement on visa-free travel for tourist groups. Under the agreement, which was concluded on July 1, 2021, citizens of both countries will be able to visit each country for tourism purposes without needing to obtain visas provided they are part of a group of up to 50 people and for a period not exceeding 15 days.