China resumed group tourist trips to Russia from February 6, 2023. Also, organized tours to 19 countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Maldives and other countries, will become available for Chinese citizens. This was announced by the Vice-President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT) Dmitry Gorin on Monday, February 6.
According to him, the domestic tourism sector is already ready to receive guests from China. However, to reach the flow of 1.5 million travelers a year, which was before the coronavirus pandemic, it takes time, according to the Zvezda TV channel. Gorin added that this requires affordable air travel and simplified bilateral visa exchange.
Earlier that day, the head of the PCT commission on international cooperation, Sergei Voitovich, expressed confidence in an interview with Izvestia that the tourist flow from China to Russia by the end of 2023 would recover by only 20% compared to the pre-pandemic level.
In Russia, the first group of Chinese tourists are expected in St. Petersburg on February 9.
The resumption of Chinese tourism will revive inbound tourism in the Russian Federation, which has decreased by 99% compared to 2019. Nevertheless, one should not expect a mass flow: the lack of an agreement on visa-free tourist trips, the lack of air travel and other factors are hindering, Sergei Voitovich noted.
According to the vice-president of the PCT, Dmitry Gorin, visa-free travel with Chinese tourist groups in Russia can be restored in the near future.
Earlier, on January 20, the press service of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) reported that the first tourist groups from China could start arriving in Russia in February-March.
On January 26, the Russian Embassy in China reported an increase in the number of applications from Chinese citizens for all types of Russian visas, RT reports.