Russia and China signed an agreement on the resumption of visa-free group tourist trips, this agreement was suspended during the pandemic.
This news has already been officially confirmed. The Foreign Ministry clarifies that Chinese citizens have the right to enter the Russian Federation both with visas and without a visa under an intergovernmental agreement.
China announced the resumption of tourist trips for organized groups in 20 countries, including Russia, at the end of January. An official reopening date has been set for February 6. On the same day, the Russian embassy announced that Russian citizens also have the right to apply for a tourist visa to China.
According to sources; the renewal of the agreement after the covid pause will not mark the start of the earliest possible departure of tourists from both sides. The source focuses on the fact that at the moment, there is an active exchange of lists of tour operators between the countries. And, despite the steps taken towards the revival of tourism between friendly countries, the launch date of the project is still not known.
At the moment, a list of travel companies is expected from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, which will carry out group trips to Russia. Further, the documents will be sent from the department to the border service, however, the department itself did not specify when the visa-free regime will begin its work.
With the onset of the pandemic in 2019, passenger traffic between China and Russia has almost completely stopped. Air travel from one country to another was resumed only in March 2021. This was followed by the complete closure of Chinese airspace for all foreign aircraft of Russian operators in May 2022. Exceptions were made only for those ships that were owned by carriers.
Russia and China already had a similar agreement on visa-free flights for tourist groups of 5 to 50 people, which, as a result, was suspended. According to the border service of the FSB, in 2019, Russia received more than 2 million Chinese citizens. Of these, about 1.5 million arrived in the country for tourism purposes.