St Petersburg [Russia], March 12: Foreign tourists may have a chance to apply for an electronic visa to enter Russia and receive a payment card in 2023, Tatyana Sharshavitskaya, head of the Russian Department of Tourism Development of the Ministry of Economic Development, said on Saturday.
She made the notice at the Fifth Congress of Travel Agencies organized by the Russian Union of Travel Industry. To solve payment problems associated with the departure of Visa and MasterCard from the Russian market, a special payment tool named the "Tourist Card" will be introduced, Russian news agency Interfax quoted her as saying.
In July 2020, a law was adopted allowing citizens of more than 50 countries, including EU states, to apply for an electronic visa to enter Russia. According to the document, the electronic visa is valid for 60 days and allows foreigners to enter for tourism and business purposes. In January 2021, the Russian government delayed the implementation of e-visas due to COVID-19.
According to Interfax, 5 million foreign tourists visited Russia in 2019. The number later dropped sharply owing to the pandemic. In 2022, slightly more than 200,000 foreign tourists visited the country.