The weekly news bulletin of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, recently reported that President Vladimir Putin has asked for proposals on simplified tourist visa registrations by November 1st. While Russian authorities are yet to reveal the measures that may be taken in this direction, the nation's tour operators have already made speculations.
It is quite possible, they believe, that the paperwork involved in Russian visa applications will be reduced, as well as the time that it takes to process the visas. Improved infrastructure won't hurt as well, and authorities may even do away with visas altogether, for visitors from selected countries. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, has said time and again that an overhaul of visa procedures can't be introduced without a guaranteed reciprocal gesture from their counterparts in other countries.
As such, industry insiders speculate that it's more likely that the Government will kick things off by granting visa exemptions to those who are visiting Russia for less than 72 hours. This policy is, after all, already in place for visitors arriving via St. Petersburg's ferry boats. Since its implementation, the visa exemption is believed to have boosted tourist traffic to the city by as much as 30%. Perhaps further relaxed visa procedures will be introduced, in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia in February.