Monday, 05 September, 2016

Russia eyes mutual visa-free group tourist with Iran

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Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency proposes mutual visa-free group tourist exchanges with India, Vietnam and Iran, head of the agency Oleg Safonov said in an interview with TASS on Sept. 1.

Currently, there are visa-free group tours between Russia and China, he said.

“We offer using the same mechanism (as with China) in our cooperation with India and Iran,” he said, adding that this mechanism would also be attractive in cooperation with Vietnam.

“This is a really good mechanism, that has proved its effectiveness,” Safonov said.

An agreement between Russia and Iran to simplify visa issuance procedures came into effect on Feb. 6. An intergovernmental agreement was signed in Tehran on Nov. 23, 2015 following a meeting of the Russian and Iranian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani.

The categories of citizens subject to simplified visa procedures are pupils, students and university teachers of both countries, as well as arts and culture groups. Businessmen and entrepreneurs of any region of Iran and Russia who have an agreement on brotherly relations may obtain a visa upon a written request of a mayor or a governor.

Iran plans to attract 1-2 million visitors by removing tourist visas for Russian nationals, Iranian Vice President and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Chief Masoud Soltanifar said in February.

In January, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei suggested that Tehran may unilaterally cancel tourist visas for Russian citizens.

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