2 Feb 2024 16:31

Some 8.5 mln foreign tourists visit Russia in 2023 - Economic Development Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) - Around 8.5 million foreign tourists visited Russia in 2023, which is 3.5% more than in 2022, director of the Russian Economic Development Ministry's multilateral economic cooperation and special projects department Nikita Kondratyev said.

"The first statistics for inbound tourism came out yesterday. We had 8.5 million foreign tourists. Compared to 2022, the growth is insignificant, 3.5%, but it is growth nonetheless," Kondratyev said at a strategic session of the Russian Union of Travel Industry.

"Our target was to secure a 1.5-fold rise in inbound tourism, up to 16 million tourists [annually], by 2030. And we see that thanks to a number of measures, foreign tourists' interest in trips to Russia is returning. It is also confirmed by information that the number of bookings at Russian hotels doubled," he said.

Seventeen countries, mainly countries of the Middle East and Asia, have been chosen as priority destinations for outbound tourism, he said.

"This year, we plan to resolve a number of systemic tasks, which include improving conditions for entry to Russia by simplifying the visa rules for countries of the Middle East and Asia, expanding the list of countries enjoying full visa-free entry, and updating the mechanism for electronic visas and visa-free group travel," Kondratyev said.