China’s largest travel agency reported that the number of Chinese travelers visiting Russia saw a significant boost from January through July compared to the same period last year.
“Over the past few years, Russia has become a destination enjoying increasing popularity among the Chinese tourists,” Victor Tseng, vice president of the Ctrip travel operator, said. “According to our information, in January-July of this year, outbound tourism from China to Russia increased by 150 percent compared to the same period last year.”
Tseng added that up to 50,000 Chinese tourists visited Russia during the FIFA World Cup 2018 alone. The number reportedly exceeded the agency’s expectations.
According to the Ctrip executive, the surge in tourism is a result of Russia’s “more friendly” policy towards inbound tourism, and towards Chinese travelers in particular. He said that a simplified visa regime between the two countries was also a key factor for boosting tourism.
Last year, Russia introduced relaxed visa rules for foreigners from 18 countries, including Brunei, India, China, North Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. The step was aimed at boosting the tourism sector in Russia’s Far East regions.
“We are very inspired by the Russian market in terms of outbound tourism from China. That is why we want to work to increase the number of Russian companies providing tourism services,” Tseng said. “We want to release information about their products and services on our platform so that Chinese tourists heading to Russia can easily find them and make bookings.”
Last year, nearly 1.8 million Chinese citizens travelled to Russia, including 1.1 million people visiting the country for tourism purposes, according to data provided by the Russian Association of Tour Operators.