Russian tourism authorities have drawn up an ambitious plan to attract more Indian tourists to popular destinations like Moscow and St Petersburg and are promoting Crimea as the new tourism hub.
"In 2015, the number of tourists from India to Russia was around 31,000. The possibilities to expand the tourist inflow to our country are enormous," Katerina Belyakova of the Russian Information Center in India said.
"We are holding 'Indo-Russian Tourism Exchange' events for development of tourist traffic between India, Russia, and the countries of the Eurasian Economic Council, which includes a series of promotional tours for Indian travel companies in April-May this year in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Crimea," Belyakova said.
Initiatives undertaken by the Indian and Russian tourism ministries and the non-commercial industry bodies aim to promote best travel destinations in their respective countries among tour operators and travel agencies to boost tourism exchange, she said.
RIC plans to organise tours for the tourism industry to Russia to familiarise them with Russian culture and attractions, she said.
Satish Soni, Joint MD of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Sergey Kidisyuk, General Manager (India) of Aeroflot airline, were present at the first such exchange event held in Mumbai recently.
Soni said MTDC is ready to provide full support and take promotional tours of Russia. The tourism potential of our state for the Russian tourists has not yet fully been explored.
The tourism community was very interested in the packages to Russia and CIS regions for reasons of it being yet untapped market, more attractive than Western Europe and lower costs compared to other packages.
The next such event will be held at Delhi on March 10 at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in New Delhi.