Russian travel union backs visa-free regime with Turkey

By Emre Gurkan Abay

MOSCOW (AA) – President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry said on Wednesday that they supported the visa-free travel deal with Turkey.

Speaking to reporters, Sergey Shpilko said visa problem impeded the flow of Turkish tourists to Russia.

"The Russian tourism industry is in favor of visa-free regime for citizens of both countries. We think that the visa [requirement] should be lifted," Shpilko said.

He said that the country is expecting 200,000 Turkish visitors this year despite the visa requirements, adding that the number could be doubled after the visa exemption.

Following Turkey’s shooting down of a intruding Russian military jet over the Turkey-Syria border in 2015, Russia imposed a range of unilateral sanctions on Turkey, including a ban on food imports and an end to visa-free travel.

The relations between the countries started to improve significantly in mid-2016.