NEW DELHI (Agencies): India and Russia are poised to engage in discussions regarding a visa-free travel arrangement for tourist groups. The first round of negotiations is scheduled for June, with the aim of finalizing a bilateral agreement by year-end. This initiative mirrors the success of existing visa-free tourism arrangements between Russia and China and Iran.

In 2022, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed this proposal during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan. Nikita Kondratyev, Director of Multilateral Economic Cooperation at Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, confirmed progress in the process. The Indian side is in the final stages of internal coordination, and consultations will soon begin to discuss the draft agreement. The goal is to sign the deal by the end of 2024.

Russia previously established visa-free group tourism with Beijing and Tehran in August last year, resulting in increased travel between the countries. Chinese tourists accounted for nearly half of all visitors to Russia in Q1 2024, with overall foreign arrivals tripling compared to the same period last year. Other top countries for tourist trips to Russia included Turkmenistan, Türkiye, Germany, and the UAE.

Additionally, Russia’s telecoms operator, Megafon, reported a surge in arrivals from China and the Middle East. Tourist flow from China in early 2024 increased significantly, with Moscow and St. Petersburg being popular destinations for Chinese travelers.

By Media

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