MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. The increase of tourist flow from China to Russia under the visa-free exchange in the first half of 2017 reached 300% in some regions. This was reported by the press service of the Federal tourism Agency.

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“In the first half of 2017 the number of tourists from China to Russia on a visa-free channel increased by 36% compared to the same period last year. In some regions, the number of visitors from China grew by 300%”, – stated in the message Department.

According to Rostourism, a region-record holder as a percentage, where the growth in the number of arrivals amounted to 300%, was Buryatia. According to the Agency, within 6 months there came 438 of tourists from China, while over the same period in 2016, the region received only 142 guests from this country.

In quantitative terms the leader in the first half of the list of destinations popular with Chinese tourists in Moscow. According to the Federal tourism Agency, compared to the same period in 2016, the index increased by 21%. Second in the ranking was Primorsky Krai, and the third place went to St. Petersburg. Their performance increased by 16% and 136%, respectively.

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The head of the Federal tourism Agency Oleg Safonov believes that the reason for the growing popularity of Russia among tourists from China is to implement the program of China Friendly and interregional projects such as “the Red route”, “Great silk road”, as well as the promotion of Russian tourist potential at the largest exhibitions in Beijing, Guangzhou, and other activities.

According to the Executive Director of the Tourist Association “World without borders” Alexander Agamov, “the significant role played by geographic location: for the Chinese tourist, Moscow is the closest European capital, and the cities of Western Europe still provided the tourists from China are not completely safe direction.”

At the moment between Russia and China signed an agreement on visa-free group tourist exchange, signed on 29 February 2000. This spring, the Deputy head of the Federal tourism Agency Nikolai Korolev, during his visit to Beijing said that the new agreement is to be signed this summer. He also reported that the document will allow to reduce the requirements to the minimal number of tourists in the group from five to three, while increasing the maximum period of their stay abroad from 14 to 21 days.