In a meeting held in Russia’s capital Moscow on Monday, Iranian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Ali-Asghar Mounesan and Head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Zarina Valeryevna Doguzova finalized a joint plan of action to implement a visa-free agreement that had been signed in March 201.
The deal enables the tourists and travel agents to lodge visa applications for tour groups to receive one single visa for a two-week visit.
Mounesan said more than 60,000 Iranians used to travel to Russia each year before the outbreak of the coronavirus, expressing hope that the termination of the pandemic would help the tourist industry boom in the two countries.
Mounesan referred to Russia as one of the Iranian government's destinations for facilitating tourism.
The Iranian minister hoped for increasing Iranian and Russian tourists after signing the agreements and completing the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Mounesan also pointed to Oman and China as two other destinations which implemented visa waiver with Iran.
Mounesan in this meeting said that there should be broad cooperation between all sectors, including political, cultural, and economic areas, of both countries to make the expansion of tourism ties happen.
Doguzova said thanks to good relations between Iran and Russia and also great tourism capacities between two countries, it is necessary to increase the volume of tourists.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Oct 16, 2020 that the visa waiver for Iranian tour groups will take effect “after the Russian tourist agency determines an Iranian partner to regulate carrying out the agreement.”
She said the agreement was signed by the Iranian and Russian foreign ministers during the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Moscow on March 27, 2017.
Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, had told Sputnik that the visa agreement may significantly surge the tourist flows between the two countries, just like it happened when a similar deal was signed between Russia and China.
The flow of Iranian tourists to Russia increased by 50-70 percent following the operation of direct flights that connect Iran to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Sochi, she said.
Iran is full of outstanding historical attractions – some dating back more than to 7,000 years ago – numerous museums, magnificent ancient capitals, in addition to spectacular grand mosques, shrines, bazaars and gardens.
The country also features many other natural and manmade attractions, including beaches, parks, mountain and jungle resorts, restaurants and affordable shopping centers.