Russia is actively wooing Indian tourists to explore and discover Moscow, the vibrant heart of the Russian Federation, by enhancing infrastructure and simplifying visa procedures.
The Moscow City Tourism Committee is not only presenting Moscow as a cultural hub but also positioning it as a thriving business destination. Efforts are underway to engage trade partners, tourists, and vacationers. Moscow is also strengthening ties with the tourism sectors of allied countries, hosting familiarization tours and arranging business trips to showcase its tourism potential.
To accommodate visitors, Moscow is improving its infrastructure. Now, signs are available in English and Chinese, public transport announcements are repeated in English, and hotels are adapting to cater to guests from diverse countries, ensuring a comfortable stay. According to Bulat Nurmukhanov, Head of International Cooperation Division of Moscow City Tourism Committee, they are working hard to restore the flow of Indian tourists to Moscow as it was before the pandemic. There was steady growth of 12-15% year-on-year, but in the first half of this year, Moscow received about 20,000 Indians, which is a 56% increase compared to the same period last year.
“We are still on our way to restore the flow of Indian tourists in Moscow like it used to be before the pandemic,” said Bulat Nurmukhanov, Head of International Cooperation Division of Moscow City Tourism Committee.
The committee is actively working on improving infrastructure for international travelers, aiming to make Moscow a must-visit destination. Moscow is spearheading the development of innovative standards to meet the needs of foreign travelers.
Tourists in Moscow can choose from a range of hotels, enjoy traditional Russian cuisine, and explore diverse culinary experiences, including authentic Indian delicacies and continental dishes prepared to the highest standards. In 2022, the number of foreign tourists visiting Moscow increased by 6.3% compared to 2021, reaching a total of 1.7 million.
Traveling to Moscow has become more accessible, with tourists from India and 54 other countries able to apply for an electronic visa to enter Russia since August 1, 2023. The impact of the e-visa rollout will be assessed by October this year, based on quarterly data from Russian border control agencies.
The Russian government is also planning to introduce a virtual ‘Foreign Tourist Card‘ for cashless payments for various services. This card would allow individuals in India to apply remotely and transfer money from their personal bank accounts.
Additionally, the Indian tourism ministry and the governments of Goa and Kerala are set to participate in roundtable discussions this month. Plans include engaging social media influencers to boost inbound tourism to India. Before the pandemic, around 3 lakh Russian tourists visited India annually, but the numbers have decreased to around 80,000-90,000 recently.
To facilitate easy movement within the city, Moscow offers the “Discover Moscow” web portal, providing navigation and travel information about the city. The “RUSSPASS travel service” is a digital platform designed to plan trips across Russia, offering essential information about visas, currency, accommodation, transportation, and more in Moscow. It also features a trip builder feature, allowing tourists to create their own itineraries or select pre-designed city routes. The site is available in Russian, English, Spanish, and Arabic.
Discover Moscow as it boasts a rich cultural scene with 10,000 cultural venues, including theaters, museums, libraries, parks, cinemas, and concert halls. In the last decade, approximately 900 parks and green spaces have been renovated, providing beautiful settings for leisure and exploration.
Source : PTI