21 Jun 2024 20:00

BRICS citizens account for 60% of tourists visiting Russia with e-visas - minister

MOSCOW. June 21 (Interfax) - Around 300,000 foreign tourists have visited Russia since it launched its e-visa service in 2023, and over 60% of them came from BRICS countries, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said on Friday.

"We launched electronic visas last year, which are processed online. Over ten months, 300,000 people have entered the Russian Federation, and over 60% of them have come from BRICS countries in particular," Reshetnikov said at a plenary session of the 1st BRICS Tourism Forum in Moscow.

Another instrument to facilitate visa procedures is group tourist exchanges, owing to which Russia has had active tourist exchanges with China and Iran, he said.

"This has produced a powerful effect. We have formed 450,000 mutual trips with Iran," he said.

Russia is in negotiations on launching group visa-free tours with India, he said.

"In addition, we're preparing to completely abolish visas and are negotiating [on this] with a number of countries of the Middle East, South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We're expecting this to provide new opportunities, as well," Reshetnikov said.

Moscow is hosting the 1st BRICS Tourism Forum on June 20-21. It has been visited by delegations from all nine BRICS member states, i.e. Russia, Brazil, Egypt, India, Iran, China, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and South Africa.