Sunday, June 16, 2024

Visa-free travel agreement between India, Russia likely by end of 2024

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As per the latest reports, Russia and India are holding talks, aiming to initiate a bilateral agreement facilitating travel ease. Scheduled to commence in June, these discussions mark a significant step towards strengthening tourism ties between Moscow and New Delhi, with plans to introduce visa-free group tourist exchanges.
Nikita Kondratyev, Director of the Russian Economic Development Ministry’s Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, highlighted India’s progress in internal state coordination, affirming its readiness for the forthcoming agreement

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum “Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum 2024” in Kazan, the Minister informed that they are discussing the timeline, anticipating that the signing of the agreement will likely take place by year-end following the initial discussion in June. The objective is clear: to boost tourism through the facilitation of visa-free group tourist exchanges, enhancing cultural and economic ties between the two nations.

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Kondratyev stressed that the intent of this initiative is to replicate the success of visa-free tourist exchanges which are already operational with China and Iran. Notably, Russia and China initiated their visa-free group tourist exchange on August 1 of the preceding year, followed by a similar initiative with Iran on the same date.

Visa-free travel agreement between India, Russia likely by end of 2024

Reflecting on recent tourism trends, the Russian capital witnessed a substantial influx of business tourists in 2023, totaling 3.7 million, marking a 7% increase from the previous year. India stands out among non-CIS countries for contributing significantly to this surge in business travel. Moreover, the statistics indicate a noteworthy rise in Indian visitors to Moscow, with 60,000 recorded in 2023, representing a quarter more than the preceding year. This increase is mirrored by a corresponding surge in Russian tourists exploring India, underscoring the reciprocal nature of tourism between the two nations.

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Must-visit places in Russia when visa-free becomes a reality:

Red Square, Moscow

At the heart of Russia’s capital lies Red Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by iconic landmarks like the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square is a symbol of Russian history and power.

The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Housed in the opulent Winter Palace, the Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest art museums in the world. With its vast collection of over three million artworks, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo, the Hermitage is a treasure trove of artistic wonders.

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Lake Baikal

Known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia,’ Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine forests, Baikal mesmerizes visitors with its crystal-clear waters and unique biodiversity.

The Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg

Often referred to as the “Russian Versailles,” the Peterhof Palace is a grandiose ensemble of palaces, gardens, and fountains. Built by Peter the Great, the palace complex is renowned for its stunning Baroque architecture and lavish gardens, making it a must-visit destination in Russia.

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