The program “72-hour visa-free stay” in Russia abandoned
The Ministry of Culture has suspended work on the draft law on visa facilitation for transit passengers.
On Tuesday, May 19, it became known that the Ministry of Culture indefinitely suspended work on the draft law, which proposed to allow foreigners to stay in Russia without a visa for up to 72 hours. The reason for the refusal of visa relaxations was “a difficult political situation”, according to “News” with reference to the Ministry of Culture. The law to amend article 2511 of the Federal Law “On the Procedure for Exit from the Russian Federation and Entry to the Russian Federation”, introducing “72 -hours visa-free stay”, appeared in 2013 and was adopted in the autumn of the same year.
It was assumed that in May 2014 will be held the second review of proposition, and changes in the short term will take effect, but further work on the amendment stalled. The idea came back in early 2015, when Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich instructed the Ministry of Culture, Transportation, Economic Development, the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Federal Customs Service to work out the procedure for the introduction of the “72-hour visa-free stay” for passengers from countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD brings together 34 states, many of which are tourist donors to Russia. Despite the fact that the work in this direction has been conducted and the government even received proposals about which airports will be able to receive foreigners without visa, “72-hour visa-free stay”, was still abandoned.
Tour operators engaged in the reception of foreigners, took the news without enthusiasm. “It is understandable that the draft law was suspended last year, when sanctions were imposed. But not now, when relations are gradually being restored. Now the opposite is necessary, to facilitate the entry of foreign tourists because after last year’s introduction of fingerprinting for individual countries, tourist flow is already affected”- stated the director of Tari Tour, Marina Levchenko.
The experts also raised concerns that the authorities may reconsider its attitude towards visa-free entry of foreign tourists aboard cruise ships and ferries to St. Petersburg. But so far no statements on this issue has not been done.
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