8 Russian regions make inroads

Russian Expo Days (RED), held from December 7-11, saw many Indians in attendance, where they gained information about various destinations and projects of Russia, and interacted with tourism service providers from there. The focus was on e-visa to Russia for Indians and an up-and-coming segment – industrial tourism.

Nisha Verma

On December 7, Russian Expo Days opened for the Indian travel trade for five days, with live sessions and discussions where information on the destination was shared. Russian Expo Days is an online exposition for India’s tourism industry professionals, organised by Profi.Travel media holding company and the Russian Information Center in India with support from the Federal Agency for Tourism, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, and TAFI (Travel Agents Federation of India).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Elena Lysenkova, Chief of Directorate of State Tourist Projects and Safety in Tourism in the Federal Agency for Tourism, said, “Despite restrictions, we are seeing tremendous interest in Russia from the international tourism industry, including the Indian market. We share with India a long-standing economic and cultural relationship, and it is becoming clear that our country’s potential is not yet fully realised. Beyond the visa barriers, lack of information is what has always limited the flow of Indian tourists to our country. Essentially, tourists only know about the two capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg. And so, at this moment, with tourism restrictions still active, online communication in this vein is very important. We hope that the knowledge Indian industry professionals have obtained at Russian Expo Days India will allow them to offer tourists everything from trips on retro trains to industrial tourism destinations, eco-tours of our beautiful countryside and much more.”

Russian Expo Days India programme attracted a lot of interest from the Indian tourism industry, with 1,700 Indian users registering for the event, while 500 of the country’s tour operators watched the business sessions. Over the five-day event, participants were presented with tourist accommodation capacities of eight regions — St. Petersburg, Kamchatka, the Murmansk, Samara, Tula, Vladimir and Amur regions, and Krasnodar Krai. Visitors learnt about the process of obtaining an e-visa and the tax-free specifics in various regions.

“The purpose of Russian Expo Days is not only to assist the regions in presenting potential foreign partners with diverse Russian tourism possibilities that fit the specific demands of every national market, but also to provide them with a modern networking tool that makes it possible to convert contacts into real, mutually beneficial contracts,” said Alexey Vengin, Chief Executive Officer, Profi.Travel.

Pradip Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI, spoke about Russia’s immense potential as a destination for the Indian market. “Last year, about 100,000 Indian tourists visited Russia, a 19% increase from the year before. About 20 million Indians also Googled information about Russia. I believe there is significant growth potential,” he said.

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