RUTI asks Russia and Germany to initiate the process of facilitation of visa procedure
Russian Union of Travel Industry appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and the Ambassador of Germany in Russia Ulrich Brandenburg with request of facilitation of visa procedure for tourists.
Visa relations between two countries became aggravated in November 2010 when Russia complicated the visa procedure for citizens of Germany. But the reply from Consulate department of MFA RF to the appeal of RUTI explained that these measures were implemented in order to correspond to the measures of Consulates of Germany in relation to the Russian citizens. MFA RF thinks that the visa requirements of Germany are the most strict among EU countries and the foreign-policy office of Russia called upon Germany several times to revise the visa practice.
The travel companies of Germany also appealed to MFA FRG. But German diplomats blamed their Russian colleagues on what’s doing on. RUTI thinks that in this situation only joint good will can solve this situation.
RUTI reminded Sergey Lavrov and Ulrich Brandenburg that most of the countries including Schengen zone do not ask for the bank account statement and proof of owing property when processing visa application. Till November 2010 the consulates of RF in Germany did not ask for such data from the citizens of Germany. It would be only reasonable for both sides to return to that practice again.
Besides that the appeal to Mr. Brandenburg says that touroperators of both countries consider the necessity of personal presence at the interview in the consulate for the Russian citizens a very serious obstacle for the tourism from Russia to Germany development. For the regions where there is no consulate of Germany it is getting too complicated, tourists are forced to spend additional funds to buy flight or train tickets to attend visa interview with no guarantee of obtaining a visa.
And the next round of visa crisis immediately influenced tourism. RUTI received a lot of appeals from Russian and German travel companies that were very much concerned by the sharp drop of the number of tourists from Germany to Russia. For example last decade of last year touroperators of both countries felt the drop of the demand for the trips from Germany to Russia for 25 – 30%. It did not influence the results of the year yet but if nothing changes the prognosis for 2011 would be very pessimistic.
Thereupon in March at ITB in Berlin the leaders of Russian Union of Travel Industry and Allianz selbstandiger Reiseunternehmen (ASR) signed a joint letter to the minister of sport, tourism and youth policy of Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko and the minister of industry and techology of Germany Ernst Burgbacher. RUTI expects that the good will of one of the countries can become a starting point of the respective bilateral process.
According to RATA-news, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism and Rostourism now work out possible variants of solving this matter with MFA RF. The discussion of the problem can be included in the agenda of the profile interdepartmental committee.