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Visa free regime with Ecuador is now supported by a bilateral agreement

05:20, 15 октября 2012

On November 24 a mutual agreement on suspendingvisa formalities for Russian and Ecuadorian tourists will take effect. Tourists from Russia will be able to visit Ecuador without having to obtain a visa, be it a full-scale vacation or just a transit. Yet the new rules don’t change much for Russian tourists. Ecuador has been allowing our citizens to enter their country without visas for years now. The Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an interview to RATA-news that the visa-free regime was only one-way until now. But soon Ecuadorian tourists will be able to enter Russia without a visa, as well.


The official MFA statement says the citizens of Russia and Ecuador, who have valid passports that allow them to cross the border, can enter, leave, transit through and stay in the other country without a visa for a period of up to 90 days every 180 days since their first arrival. If a Russian or an Ecuadorian decides to stay for a longer period, or to stay for work, he will have to obtain a visa, in accordance with local regulations.


According to the statistics, 864 thousand foreign tourists have visited Ecuador from January to August of this year. That is a 13% increase, compared to last year’s numbers. There are five countries which make the majority of the Ecuador tourist flow: Colombia, USA, Peru, Spain and Germany. Yet only a couple hundreds Russian tourists come to Ecuador every year, even though there was no strict visa regime. Tour operators find several problems which cause this low demand.


One of the reasons is the lack of beach resorts that Russian tourists have got accustomed to. Of course there are new 4 and 5-star hotels being built on the shore of the Pacific, yet these resorts are far from what Cuba and Dominican Republic have to offer. Ecuador is a more educational destination, where one can visit the Galapagos Islands with its unique fauna. Another itinerary is the country’s capital – Quito, which is located very close to the equator line.


Ecuador is not really an independent destination at the moment. Mostly it sells in bundles with other countries like Venezuela or Peru. A serious drawback for the country is the lack or Russian-speaking guides, which results in programs and excursions being too simple and dull.

Even though Ecuador is a year-round destination, Russian tourists prefer to visit the country during a period from October to May. The peak dates are usually during the New Year and May holidays. According to Maxim Chernyshov, Head of marketing and sales at Poseidon Expeditions, there has been an increase in interest towards the destination thanks to people, who want to visit the Galapagos Islands during their cruises. He noted that after the demand has tripled, the operator introduced some new Ecuadorian programs. According to the expert, it will be possible to give some estimates about the New Year holidays demand in November.

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