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Italian embassy opens new visa centre in Sochi

April 04, 2014, 20:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“No visa restrictions have been introduced. We’re not going to impose them,” Italy’s ambassador in Moscow says

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© ITAR-TASS/Denis Kamenshykov

MOSCOW, April 04. /ITAR-TASS/. The Italian Embassy in Russia is expanding the number of visa centres in Russian regions, Italy’s ambassador in Moscow has said.

“A visa center will be opened in Sochi shortly,” Cesare Maria Ragaglini told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

“These days we have opened a visa center in Vladivostok that will help Far East residents obtain visas for travel to Italy in their own region,” she said.

Political disagreements between Russia and the European Union due to the events in Ukraine had no impact on the visa regime with Italy. “No visa restrictions have been introduced. We’re not going to impose them,” Ragaglini said.

“Moreover, Italy is on the top of Schengen visa liberalization. A visa for Italy can be gotten within 48 hours. Multiple visas are issued for up to five years,” she said.

“The Bilateral Year of Tourism and Italy’s Expo 2015 (due to be held in Milan from May to October 2015) will give a powerful impetus to bilateral contacts in diverse fields,” Ragaglini said.

“We do not intend to cancel visa benefits for Russians tourists. Italy seeks to increase their flow,” she said.

Italy has launched a special program, “Russia Friendly” aimed at training hotel personnel and guides who will welcome Russian travellers.

“We would like the hotels to be ready to accept Russian tourists. Any person can choose a tour on the Russian-language website,” she said.

In 2013 about 250,000 Italian tourists traveled to Russia, Ragaglini said, adding that the number could increase if Russia eased visa formalities, too.

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