HomeLifestyleRussia tries to woo Indian tourists to counter Western sanctions

Russia tries to woo Indian tourists to counter Western sanctions

Moscow, St. Petersburg send large delegations to OTM travel shows to attract tourists

Moscow, St. Petersburg send large delegations to OTM travel shows to attract tourists

Russia, affected by the ban, is making aggressive efforts to woo Indian travelers to visit its major cities.

Its top two cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, have sent tourism delegations to an ongoing business program called OTM to sell tour packages and onboard a large number of travel agents to woo Indians.

“Tourist flow had dropped significantly during the pandemic. For St. Petersburg, it dropped 72%. In that period, inland tourism saw a significant increase. Now, we can see the urge of Indians to travel to their destinations,” said Kuzhenskaya Julia, deputy chairman, Tourism Development Committee, St. Petersburg. He said that Indians can travel and transact in St. Petersburg hassle-free [payment] The issues were being resolved and “discussed at the highest level.” Despite the war, she said, “there is absolutely no danger to tourists and everything is very peaceful.”

He said, “We are making a lot of efforts to attract people from Asian destinations and we have seen more and more people coming from India. We know that there is huge potential in Asian markets.

The Moscow City Tourism Committee has put up a stall at OTM, showcasing its tourism and MICE potential. Moscow delegation interacts with members of the travel trade and exhibition venues before Mumbai filmmakers.

Alina Arutunova, vice-chairman of the Moscow City Tourism Committee, said that she had come to Mumbai to further strengthen ties with India.

“Now, more Indians are traveling to Moscow and there is no problem in payment. We are focusing on India and Saudi Arabia to attract tourists.

One of the drivers for growth is Russia’s visa policy. In September, President Vladimir Putin supported the initiative to introduce a visa-free regime for groups of foreign tourists, he said.

In addition, e-Visa application will be made available for 52 countries and India is also listed. It is a simple process to submit the documents online, he added.

Sanjeev Agarwal, President and CEO, Fairfest Media Limited, the organizer of OTM, said that many traditional outbound destinations such as Europe and the US were not doing well as they were unable to process the desired number of visas due to shortage of staff at their embassies.

“This has created unique opportunities for some non-traditional destinations like Russia to fill the gap. Very few Indians, nearly a million [as compared to 50 lakh to U.K. and 15 lakh to small European countries] Were going to Russia in pre-pandemic times. Now, many Westerners are not going to Russia, they need Indians now,” he said.

“So, they have completely arrived and now Indians are getting Russian visa easily. Since the Russians are not getting visas from the western world, they will now come to India.”

Jyoti Mayal, president of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said platforms like OTM will bring business back after the pandemic.

“This is the need of the hour. It is time to reconnect with each one and collaborate with them again. Right now India is a big source market because China is blocked. India has huge opportunity as everyone is wooing us. But, this is the right time for us to woo them as our inward should be very strong.”

“We had the opportunity several years ago to become the biggest hub for travel and tourism. But we lost to Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. This is the right time for India to come back and become the biggest travel hub,” she said.

Qatar tourism is also attracting Indians. “We have always believed that India is a major source market for Qatar. In the coming months, we will have the Football World Cup and will receive a large number of Indians. From 2023 onwards, Qatar Leisure’s regional manager, Qatar Tourism, Sandeep Shewale said. The approach will be ready with the infrastructure.

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