A visa-waiver for Bahraini citizens travelling to Russia is on the table following a new move by the authorities, the Russian News Agency (TASS) has reported. The aim is to abolish tourist visas for ‘premium class’ tourists from a selected number of countries and the kingdom is on a list that includes Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

The proposal was tabled by Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov at the Eastern Economic Forum, an international event held each year in Vladivostok for the purpose of encouraging foreign investment.“We are exploring the topic of making the transition to visa-free travel for some Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries,” he revealed. “This is where incremental growth of premium class tourists is possible in particular. That’s why we are interested in it.”TASS reported in March that Bahrain and Russia were negotiating an agreement to allow citizens of both countries to travel between the two states without the need to apply for a traditional time-consuming tourist visa.

As it stands, Bahrainis can travel to Russia upon obtaining an electronic visa, according to an agreement from October 2021. Should the latest proposal be accepted, the new arrangement would abolish the need for any formalities, encouraging tourism and boosting co-operation between the two countries.This comes as Russia is involved in a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, faces sanctions from the West and has seen a huge reduction in tourism as the conflict continues.A mere 200,100 tourists travelled to Russia last year, according to border service data.

That marks a 96.1 per cent decrease from the 5.1 million tourists who had visited Russia in 2019, before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.nader@gdnmedia.bh

Copyright 2022 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).