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Vaccine travel packages to Russia ready, visa issues yet to be resolved, says agency

Vaccine tours can help to recover tourism industry that has sustained losses since the beginning of the pandemic

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Although travel packages for inoculating foreigners in Russia are ready, it is necessary to resolve the entry issue for such tourists into the country, the President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI) Andrei Ignatyev told TASS.

"Travel agencies were ready to organize vaccination tours at the beginning of the year since they regularly received such requests from all over the world. The product is ready, but the issues of visa support and legal entry for foreigners wishing to receive the Russian vaccine are yet to be resolved," Ignatiev said.

Since a large percentage of the population in Europe has been vaccinated so far, the expert predicts that first of all residents of Asian countries, including India, the Middle East, and for example, Iran, could be interested in such tours, as well as countries in Africa and Latin America.

"The countries of Africa and Latin America showed great interest in such a tourist product during the entire period of the vaccination campaign in Russia, the RUTI received such requests," the head of the RUTI explained.

Vaccine tours could serve as support for tour operators now when the incoming tourist flow to the country has been next to zero for more than a year, he said. Three-week tours for foreigners can help kick-start its recovery.

"This is a combination of vaccination with a cultural and excursion program, which can be arranged very interestingly, capturing different regions of Russia. Another option is a two-week trip, and there are also such requests," Ignatiev pointed out.

The price of such vaccine tours for foreigners ranges from $1,500 to 2,500, excluding airline costs, Ignatiev told TASS.

"It is 1,500-2,500 dollars while staying in Russia for 21 days without air travel," he revealed.

Speaking at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin tasked the government to work on arranging fee-based vaccinations against the coronavirus infection for foreign nationals in Russia by the end of June.

Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency is ready together with travel agencies to organize inoculation tour packages for foreigners, head of the agency Zarina Doguzova told TASS on the sidelines of the SPIEF-2021.