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for russian tourists israel is visa-free

Visa requirements for Russian tourists eliminated

Jun 30, 2008

The Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Sunday approved the elimination of visa requirements for Russian citizens visiting Israel. The ruling will take effect September 20.

The Ministry of Tourism said that pursuant to the decision, the Israeli entry permit order will be amended in the coming days according to the recently signed agreement between Israel and Russia, stating that the visa imperative be mutually revoked for tourists of both countries.

The initiative was led by former Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and unanimously voted in a special ministerial committee established by the government.

Aharonovitch’s proposal elicited the objection of various parties who were concerned that canceling the visas would lead to increased trespassing attempts by criminal groups into Israel, including prostitution and illegal aliens.

Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism reported during the Knesset committee's Sunday meeting that excitement and anticipation could already be sensed over the past few months among the largest tourism wholesalers in Russia, whose interest has been sparked due to the signing of the new agreement.

Second largest source of tourism into Israel
Estimates say that the number of Russian tourists entering Israel in the coming years coulc be doubled or even tripled.

Some 193,000 Russian tourists visited Israel in 2007 – a 163% increase compared to 2006. Between January and May 2008, some 128,000 tourists entered Israel from Russia – a 135% increase compared to the corresponding period last year. With such a growth pace, the number of Russian tourists may reach 300,000 by late 2008.

Visa requirements for Russian tourists eliminated

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