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MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Abolition of visa requirements for Russian nationals going to Costa Rica for a period of up to 30 days was not likely to boost the flow of tourists to that country, which remained a not very popular destination among Russians, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) told Tass on Tuesday.
“This destination is not yet popular on the Russian tourism market,” Maya Lomidze said, citing the absence of direct flights among the reasons. “That is why it is still difficult to speak about a major flow of tourists despite wonderful resorts” which Costa Rica boasts, she said.
The head of the Federal Agency for Tourism’s international cooperation department, Valery Korovkin, said for his part that “the move of the Costa Rica authorities is absolutely clear”. “Those countries that seek to attract tourists take certain measures, like visa, transport or other. That is why, this step is not surprising,” he said, adding that still it would not increase the flow of Russian tourists.
Earlier, Costa Rican Minister for Tourism, Allan Flores said tourists from Russia could enter the country without visas for a period of up to 30 days with a possibility to extend the stay in the country up to 90 days. This instruction will come into effect several days after being published in La Gaceta, government’s official newspaper.
According to the minister, the measure was aimed at an increase in the number of Russians holidaying in the country.
The Russian market of tourism was of major interest for all countries that were developing ‘smokeless industry’, the minister said. At the present time, Russian tourists have to personally apply for a visa to Costa Rica to the country’s Consulate in Moscow. This is rather inconvenient and time consuming.
According to tourism experts, more than 4,000 Russian tourists spent their holidays in Costa Rica last year.