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Putin abolishes Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism

"The functions of the Federal Agency for Tourism that is being eliminated, should be delegated to the Russian Economic Development Ministry," the document says

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree axing the Federal Agency for Tourism, while delegating its functions to the Economic Development Ministry, according to the document released on the official portal of legal information on Thursday.

"In order to enhance the governance of the tourism sector and tourist activities, streamline the efficiency of the tourist industry’s development and optimize the structure of the federal authorities, I hereby resolve to abolish the Federal Agency for Tourism," the decree reads.

"The functions of the Federal Agency for Tourism that are being abolished, should be delegated to the Russian Economic Development Ministry," the document states.

In particular, among the functions set to be transferred to Russia’s Economic Development Ministry are the drafting and implementation of state policy and regulation in the tourism sector, coordinating activities on carrying out priority areas of state regulation of tourism, control over the activities of accredited organizations involved in the classification of hotels, ski trails, beaches, the activities of outbound tourism operators, and entities authorized to certify tour guides and instructors.

Additionally, law enforcement duties in the tourism industry will be delegated to the Economic Development Ministry.

According to the decree, the ministry is the legal successor of the Federal Agency for Tourism on obligations resulting from execution of judgements.

The document goes into force on the day of its signing.

Discussion on regulating the tourism sector

The debate on a single regulating body in the tourism sector went public at the meeting of the presidium of the State Council on the tourism issue in September on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). Back then, Governor of the Primorsky Region Oleg Kozhemyako suggested that a single-window system be created for regulating the nationwide travel industry. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko opposed the initiative, saying that the existing arrangement with the Federal Agency for Tourism, the Construction Ministry and a relevant Deputy PM was optimal. Putin requested more should be done to iron out the issue.

Meanwhile, the question of which department should handle the state program for developing tourism and the funds earmarked for it, was put on the table. President Putin stressed then that "after further study, it was necessary to find a way to make it more convenient, more expedient and more efficient to operate." On the next day, speaking at the EEF’s plenary session, he tasked the government with deciding which agency would deal with bankrolling the development of tourism as soon as possible.

A separate tourism agency was part of various government bodies in various years. In 2018, the Federal Agency for Tourism became part of the Economic Development Ministry, whereas in June 2020, Putin signed a decree transferring it directly to the government. Zarina Doguzova has headed the agency since 2019.