The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts announced the signing of the executive plan of the agreement “abolition of group tourist visas” between Iran and Russia.
Update 1400/03/24, 14:06
Leila Ajdari, Director General of the Office of Marketing and Development of Foreign Tourism, who was a member of the accompanying delegation of Ali Asghar Monsan, Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts on a visit to Russia, said about the details of group visa cancellation between Iran and Russia:
On April 28, 2017, an agreement was signed between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Russia and the Russian Federation on the abolition of group travel visas for citizens of the two countries by the Foreign Ministers. An executive plan must be written in the same agreement to be implemented. The program was supposed to be written a month later, but it was done; But because the issue was complex and the two sides were tough, the program went back and forth a lot; We prepared it for 2018; But the parties cast doubt, suspicion and objection on some words, concepts and processes. Finally, this program was prepared in September 1399 (2020). The Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts was supposed to travel to Russia to sign, but with the rise of the Corona virus, the Russian government postponed the signing of the program until Mr. Monson’s visit to Russia last week. A group of Iranian and Russian citizens signed.
Ajdari, referring to the validity of the joint action plan to cancel the Iran-Russia group travel event for the period 2021 to 2023, announced the possibility of extending and modifying this agreement. He said:
In order for the cancellation of group travel visas to be implemented, it is legally and diplomatically necessary to exchange another note between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, one month after the announcement of its receipt. , Visas will be revoked for group trips of Iranian and Russian citizens.
Director General of the Office of Marketing and Development of Foreign Tourism, emphasizing that the visa or individual visa for travel to Russia has not been revoked, And announced the payment of documents and fees required by visiting the Russian embassy for a personal trip without a tour. He added:
If a person intends to travel with a group or tour, he can go to one of the agencies that has a license for these trips and their names will be announced later, and in Make a list of five to fifty passengers; In that case, the visa for this traveler will be canceled.
Leila Ajdari, referring to the possibility of eliminating part of the visa fee for group travel, acknowledged:
I think the cost of a Russian visa is currently 85 euros, for example you may receive only 10 euros. Of course, the details of the visa fee have not been determined yet, and these are the issues that are being considered by the technical committees of the two countries. Even in the talks between the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and the Russian side, it was emphasized that the details of the cancellation of the group event should be left to the technical committees. The State Department may have an opinion, however it is paid for by the embassies and decided by the technical committees of the two countries.
Director General Denying the issue of canceling group visas between Iran and Russia since 1996 and the lack of effective action by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in this regard, the Office of Foreign Tourism Marketing and Development stressed the signing of two official documents to cancel group travel visas by the two foreign ministers. He added:
In the same main agreement, two articles are directly mentioned that through the development of a joint action plan, the abolition of group travel visas will be implemented. Article 3 of the agreement explicitly states that “the competent authorities of the Parties shall exchange copies of valid travel documents through diplomatic channels no later than 30 days after the signing of the agreement.” Article 4 also states that “the competent authorities of the Parties shall notify each other of new valid travel documents or changes to existing valid travel documents, and new or modified copies shall be sent through diplomatic channels 30 days prior to issuance or validation.” The Parties will exchange the list of institutions responsible for the implementation of this Agreement, hereinafter referred to as the Coordinating Authority, as well as amendments to these lists through diplomatic channels.
Ajdari Referring to the implementation of this agreement with the Ministry of Tourism to coordinate its details with its Russian counterpart, regarding the ambiguities about the guarantee of implementation, the will and desire of the Russian government to cancel the group travel visa, according to previous statements by some Russian Foreign Ministry officials.
This agreement has been signed by the Russian Foreign Ministry. On the other hand, the Russian Federal Tourism Agency is a government agency, not a private sector, operating under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, so we are not on the side of the private sector. Neither the main agreement was signed between the private sector of the two countries nor the joint action plan. On the other hand, Ms. Dugozova, who was a party to Mr. Monson’s signature on the Joint Action Plan, holds the highest position in Russian tourism in the government.
Director General of the Office of Foreign Tourism Marketing and Development Confirming the possibility of any embassies having a taste for different strictures regarding the abolition of group visas, he announced the non-inclusion of all travel agencies in this agreement and said:
This agreement is for everyone Not agencies. We and the Russian government are going to introduce a number of travel and tour services offices, which happened in 2018. At the same time as the World Cup in Russia, we introduced 68 offices, and Russia wanted to introduce its own agencies. According to the agreement signed at the level of the foreign ministers of the two countries, we are obliged to introduce every year the list of reputable agencies that are considered and can exchange tourists with the Russian side. Therefore, not all agencies can cancel group travel visas, only agencies approved by the Iranian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and the Russian side have such a possibility.
Ajdari emphasizes reviewing and updating List of 68 members of travel agencies, considering the inactivity of some of the present agencies and the willingness of other agencies to cooperate, assessed the effects of the abolition of group visas on the travel market in Russia and Iran as follows:
Director-General of the Office of Foreign Tourism Marketing and Development The biggest obstacle to implementing the agreement He described the closure of borders to foreign tourists as an attempt to persuade the National Corona Anti-Corruption Headquarters to reopen borders with specific protocols, at least to Russian tourists. Regarding the timing of the cancellation of group travel visas, he said:
Tehran insisted on sending the memorandum of understanding faster.
Update 1400/03/17, 17:04
During the visit of Ali Asghar Monsan, Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts to Russia, the executive program of the agreement on the abolition of group visas for Iranian and Russian citizens in April 2017 ( 2017) was approved by the governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, was finally signed on Monday, June 8, 1400.
According to this agreement, which will be valid until 2023, citizens of the two countries as a group From 5 to 50 people can travel to Iran and Russia without a visa through a travel agency.
Development of mutually beneficial long-term cooperation between tourism companies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, development of intra-regional cooperation in the field of tourism, t The exchange of information on the assessment of progress in the implementation of the agreement, as well as the regular exchange of information on the security of tourists in the territory of the two countries, is one of the clauses of the executive plan of the MoU, which was jointly signed by Ali Asghar Monsan and Ms. Zarina Dragozova, head of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency.
In addition, in accordance with the Iran-Russia group visa waiver agreement, the two countries undertook to issue a list of reputable tourism companies that have the right to operate under the agreement for the purpose of issuing group visas. Companies should exchange contact information as well as seals of coordinating bodies and tourism companies on an annual basis.
It was late. This agreement is not an international treaty and does not create any obligation or right for either party under international law, and its implementation must be in accordance with the rules of both countries. Any dispute arising from the implementation or interpretation of this executive plan will be resolved through negotiations between the parties through diplomatic channels.
Cover photo by IRNA #