Визы, РСТ, Россия, Заграница, Транспорт, Волонтерство, Туризм и закон, RTN Tech, Туристам,
Главные новости

Visa-free entry for foreign yachtsmen to help develop lake and river tourism in Russia

08:07, 21 января 2013

The Ministry of transport published on its website a draft law providing a 72-hour visa-free regime for passengers and crews of sport sailing ships and recreational vessels arriving in Russia via sea and river checkpoints. It is about the yachts for not more than 18 people, among them no more than 12 passengers.


For now, visa-free entry to Russia is available only for passengers of cruise ships and ferries. Solving the issue the most active for several years was the Russian Union for Travel Industry, the North-Western Department in particular, interacting with the administration of Saint Petersburg, State Duma and the Russian Federation CCI. As a result passengers of cruise ships and ferries can now enter eight Russian cities without visas - Vladivostok, Vyborg, Kaliningrad, Korsakov, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Saint Petersburg, and Sochi. The Russian Union of Travel Industry has consistently advocated the introduction of 72-hour visa-free entrance for yachtsmen. It will be recalled that the current Minister of transport Maxim Sokolov is a member of the Union’s Board of Control.


The aim of the Ministry of Transport is to consolidate positive results of the visa-free ferries and cruises practice. Draft law first of all is targeted at tourists. Therefore, it is assumed that foreign yachts’ passengers will have a visa-free entry not at all border crossing points, but only in those regions, where the introduction of such regime is economically justified and will contribute to the development of the inbound tourism. These border crossing points will be determined by the government of Russian Federation.


According to the head of Department for tourism and regional policy of the Ministry of culture of Russian Federation Sergey Korneyev, this draft law is a big step forward. «We absolutely favour the position of the Ministry of transport and we took an active part in draft legislation. It is too early to speak about any numbers and the flow of tourists. At this step it doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that easing visa regime will stimulate the development of water tourism and the corresponding infrastructure as well. All the more it’s an extremely active recreation field”, - he explained. Indeed, all over the world yacht tourism is considered to be more favourable, than, for example, beaches or sightseeing: yachtsmen, as a rule, are wealthy people, and spend considerable amount of money on vacations. Scarcely can we speak about a large number of such tourists, but, however, according to all-Russian federation for sailing, they receive about five thousand requests from abroad for navigating inland waterways.


Saint Petersburg’s experience has already proved the effectiveness of visa-free entry. Since 2009 when State Duma adopted the decree of the 72-hour visa-free stay for foreign passengers of cruise ships, the cruise flow to the Northern capital, according to Sergey Korneev, are numbered by hundreds thousands. And what's more important - old and new ferry lines have been revived. So, in April 2010 the first regular year-round line St. Petersburg - Helsinki (ferry Princess Maria) was opened, and in 2011 ferry Princess Anastasia started operating on the new route Saint-Petersburg - Stockholm. Within 2011 the two lines transported more than 500 thousand passengers. In 2012 more than 750 thousand people took the advantage of St. Peter Line. Cruises give St. Petersburg more than 80% of tourists. In due season three ferry lines between St. Petersburg and Finland were closed because of unprofitability: a lot of foreigners didn’t want to go through a complicated procedure of issuing Russian visa for a short trip to Saint Petersburg.


In fact, foreign yachtsmen now are in a similar situation. The rivers and lakes of Russia became available for them since May 2012. The government has approved the rules for recreation and sailing sports vessels on inland waterways of Russia. Earlier similar amendments were adopted to the Code of internal water transport of Russian Federation. Now ferries can pass through water areas of Central part of Russia, Siberia and the Far East – but only after vetting and if there’s a Russian speaking crewmember that can sail a ship. Until recently, private recreation crafts in inland waterways of Russia were allowed only by the order of the government, and the crafts obligatorily had to take a Russian pilot on the board. Now the requirement is gone, and a very good step has been made in the attraction of foreign yachtsmen to our rivers and lakes. However, a number of administrative obstacles, including the visa, detain the wide access of foreign yachts.


One more step to stimulate the inbound flow to Russia should become a law allowing foreigners, passing our territory in transit, to stay in the country up to 72 hours without a visa. The Ministry of culture works upon the project; according to the Ministry, there are up to 500 thousand foreigners a year. At the same time the Department works on the project of ten days visa-free stay in Russia for football players and foreigners, which will participate in cultural events, festivals. “There are a lot of such events in the country. About 60 per year refer to the Ministry of Culture, explained Sergey Korneyev to RATA-news, we’ve done our job and now the document is being discussed in various echelons, but yet it’s too early to speak about the terms”.

Обсудить в telegram

вам может быть интересно