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ROME, November 25. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russia-Italy Cross-Year of Tourism, besides the cultural and educational parts, has an economic aspect, Italy’s Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Massimo Bray said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass. The interview was organised on the eve of beginning the Year, which will be launched on November 26 during interstate consultations chaired by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
“The cross-years of Russia and Italy are very important for development of the bilateral relations and at the same time they prove the firm friendship, which connects our countries. The year of tourism will not only improve mutual contacts in culture and tourism, but will also lay a big base of exchanges in entrepreneurship and trade,” Bray said.
The Italian side has planned 70 events, “and the list will grow,” the minister added.
Italy is opening additional visa sections in Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Voronezh, Ulyanovsk, Irkutsk, Tomsk and Vladivostok.
“Besides, we are introducing the program of “education on holidays”, which will be presented officially at the Study in Italy fair, organised by Italian Culture institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg,” the minister said.
The republic is interested in attracting tourists shortly before EXPO-2015, due in Milano, and will undertake efforts towards an easier visa regime, he added.
His ministry said at a recent meeting of G-20 tourism ministers in early November in London that over nine months of the current year, the number of issued visas had grown by almost 15% against 2012. The number of visas issued to Russian citizens grew by 22%. Along with Turkey and China, Russia is among the three leaders in growth of tourism flow to Italy.