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RIC India hosted the first ever conference in India devoted to mutual tourist exchange between Russia and India

The event was organised by the Russian Information Centre in India, with the support of the Consulate General of Russia in Mumbai, Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Mumbai. The speakers of the conference were representatives of the Russian Centre of Culture and Science in Mumbai, Maharashtra Tourism Ministry, Russian Information Centre in India, the Russian House in Delhi.

The announcement of the meeting created a buzz and the event was very well represented by the Tourism Industry, Airlines and financial institutions, the key dignitaries who attended were Mr. Satish Soni, Joint MD at MTDC, Mr Sampat Damani, Chairman of the west chapter of Travel Agents Association of India, Mr. Sergey Kidisyuk, General Manager (India) at Aeroflot, Mr. Alexander Perminov, India Representative of Vnesheconombank. Speeches from from the Head of Tourism department of St. Petersburg and from Department of Tourism Crimea were read out to the audience.

Mr. Satish Soni, Joint Managing Director of MTDC: “Russia and India are long-standing partners, Russia is known and loved in India. We hope that with the start of the program of mutual tourist flow will increase. Our department is ready to provide full support – we are ready to take the promotional tours of
Russia, to begin the exchange of students, to participate in the exchange of information with the Russian regions. A large number of tourists and businessmen from Russia visited Mumbai, but the tourism potential of our state for the Russian tourists have not yet fully been explored. For example, noteworthy caves of Ellora and Ajanta, Mahabaleshwar, the beaches of Maharashtra ” Ekaterina Belyakova of the Russian Information Center in India said that Indian tourists number about 15 million a year. Many of them go to Europe and Asia, but the regions of Russia are relatively less known. According Rostourism in 2015, the number of tourists from India number in the region of 31,000. So the possibilities are enormous. Today’s event ‘Indo-Russian Tourism Exchange’ is the first in the series of programmes for the development of mutual tourist traffic between India, Russia, and the countries of the Eurasian Economic Council, part of which is also a series of promotional tours for Indian travel companies in April-May 2016 in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Crimea (Program attached). RIC plans to organise a tour for about 100 members of the tourism community to Russia in 2016 to familiarise them to the culture and attractions.

The conference discussed the practical steps for the interaction between the regional Ministries of Tourism in India and Russia. In particular, the discussion centred around the harmonisation of the draft agreement on cooperation of Department of Kerala tourism and of St. Petersburg. The purpose of cooperation – increase mutual tourist flow in their respective regions. It is hoped that the co-operation agreement will be finalised by the end of March 2016.

The tourism community were very interested in the packages to Russia and CIS regions for reasons of it being yet untapped market, more attractive than Western Europe and lower costs compared to other packages.
The next meeting in the series of programmes is slated for 10 March 2016 at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in New Delhi.