Posted 20 марта, 07:15

Published 20 марта, 07:15

Modified 20 марта, 07:46

Updated 20 марта, 07:46

Kommersant: The resumption of the issuance of Chinese visas to Russians caused a great demand

Kommersant: The resumption of the issuance of Chinese visas to Russians caused a great demand

20 марта 2023, 07:15
The resumption of the issuance of Chinese visas to Russians caused a great demand, and the free slots for filing documents ended in two days. In addition, the number of bookings by Russian citizens in hotels in major Chinese cities has doubled. This is reported by Kommersant.

"As of March 17, the nearest free date for submitting documents in Moscow is May 23, in St. Petersburg — April 20", - Yulia Bravagina, deputy head of the visa and migration department of Continent Express, told Kommersant.

Marina Shirokova, head of the corporate department of Visa Travel, added that the vacant seats in case of refusal of the applicant are immediately occupied by bots.

China has resumed issuing visas of all types since March 15. Business visas began to be issued back in 2022, but due to the complicated registration procedure, a minimum number of them were issued. Now the approach has been simplified, but applicants' documents are accepted twice a week. Thus, only about 400 applications are submitted. Visa processing itself takes two to five days, depending on the choice of tariff, Shirokova noted.

"The number of hotel bookings by Russians in major Chinese cities has also doubled, as expected. Experts predict that this year the tourist flow from Russia to China will be 30-40% of the pre-pandemic level. Limited air traffic prevents this indicator from increasing," Kommersant notes.

According to the OneTwoTrip service, 2% of air ticket bookings abroad are now in China, and until March 15 — only 0.1%. Thus, the direction has risen from the 50th to the 12th place in the rating of popular outbound destinations. According to the service, 28% of flight bookings to China are made in Beijing, 23% — in Shanghai, 18% — in Guangzhou. According to the portal Ostrovok.ru in the first two weeks of March, the number of hotel searches in China increased sixfold compared to the figures of the first two weeks of February, and the number of bookings doubled.

Dmitry Gorin, Vice-president of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry, believes that after the launch of the visa-free group exchange program for tourist groups, the tourist flow to China this year can restore 30-40% of the pre-pandemic level. Further growth is limited by the problems of air traffic — planes can fly to China without double registration, and Russian airlines have only 180 such boards. At the same time, wide-body aircraft are also used for flights to Turkey, the UAE, Thailand and other destinations.

"Now, according to OneTwoTrip, direct flights of Aeroflot, Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines are available to China. At the same time, they specify in the service "Ya. Travel", the average cost of a flight from Moscow to China and back is 47-55 thousand rubles," notes Kommersant.