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Hong Kong and Russia sign Visa Abolition Agreement

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Friday, 24 April 2009

The Hong Kong Tourism Board has warmly welcomed the mutual visa-free access agreement signed on Thursday between the governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Russia.

 The Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements provides visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders visiting Russia for a stay of up to 14 days. Likewise, Russian nationals will also enjoy 14 days' visa-free access to Hong Kong.

 Both the contracting parties aim to complete the outstanding formalities required for the agreement to come into effect by mid 2009.

HKTB Chairman Mr James Tien said, “Given the impact of the global financial crisis, the HKTB has decided to focus its marketing effort on the short-haul markets this year. In view of this new arrangement, which will provide Russian visitors with greater convenience and help attract them to visit Hong Kong, as well as the growth potential of the Russian market in the long run, the HKTB will strengthen exposure and awareness of Hong Kong in Russia, so that we can make a head start and capture the surge in visitor arrivals when the economic situation improves.

“We will fully capitalise on the opportunity brought by the visa-free access agreement, and implement a series of promotions in Russia this year,” Mr Tien continued. “Our key target segments include the middle-age couples and family visitors. Tailoring to Russian travellers’ interest in shopping and dining, the HKTB will leverage on the Hong Kong Food and Wine Year platform to promote Hong Kong’s appeal. We will also join forces with Hainan and other Mainland provinces to promote multi-destinations itineraries featuring Hong Kong.”

Russia is already included as an emerging market in HKTB’s work plan for 2009-10. Meanwhile, HKTB Executive Director Mr Anthony Lau is currently in Hainan, and has entered into an agreement with the province’s tourism bureau to jointly tap the Russian market, including joint publicity during a leisure travel show in Moscow in September 2009.

In addition, the HKTB will organise a travel mission to St Petersburg and Moscow on 1 and 2 June for the local travel trade to conduct business sessions with their Russian counterparts, while from 3 June, the HKTB will stage a 10-day photo exhibition targeting consumers in a famous mega shopping mall in Moscow.

 As for publicity, the HKTB recently co-operated with Russia’s major TV station TV Rossiya to produce a series of features on Hong Kong, which will be broadcast on the station’s longstanding morning show, as well as other channels this June.

In 2008, visitor arrivals from Russia to Hong Kong exceeded 37,000, 13% more than in 2007. 

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