MOSCOW, March 22 (Itar-Tass) — Spanish Ambassador to Russia Luis Felipe Fernandez de la Pena said on Thursday that visa regime with Russia must be abolished.
“In the European Union, Spain subscribes to the opinion that visa regime must be abolished,” the ambassador said. “This issue is brought up at summits. If such work is continued in the future, visas can be cancelled,” the Spanish diplomat said.
According to him, this is because “the Russian tourism market becomes a priority for Spain”. He said last year 705,000 visas were issued for Russian tourists, while all in all 900,000 Russians visited Spain. “We are setting the aim to increase this figure to 4.5 million by 2018,” he stressed. The ambassador added that in January 2012, 35 percent more visas were issued for Russian tourists than in January 2011.
The Spanish diplomat said this year three direct air routes are to be opened – to Almeria, Gran Canaria and Mallorca. The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, Maria Isabel Borrego Cortes, for her part expressed regrets about a small percentage of Russians in the general flow of tourists. According to her, 57 million tourists from all over the world visited Spain last year.
At the same time she stressed that Spain is “ready to offer not only the sun and beaches to Russia tourists, but also to develop cultural and city tourism”. “Average expenses of Russian tourists during a short-term trip to Spain are 1,400 euros,” she added.