March 01, 2015

Russia for Russians

New regulations have severely restricted travel options for foreigners visiting Russia. As of late January, travelers must specify in advance their entire itinerary while in Russia. Moreover, for each destination, tourists (as well as business travelers) must provide the address of their host organization or individual and then register with local migration authorities upon arrival.

ATOR, the Russian tour operator association, recently reported that inbound tourism from Europe, source of some 60 percent of Russian tourism, declined by 17 percent over 2014, mainly due to the political situation and the crisis over Ukraine.

The new regulations are sure to put off wanderlusting foreigners, yet it is unclear how Russia will enforce them. And it is hard to see how they can have anything but a negative effect upon independent tourism. (Cruise ship stopovers in St. Petersburg and tightly managed package tours will see less of an impact.)

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