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Hongkong and Russia sign visa-free agreement

26 Apr 2009

Hongkong passport holders and Russian nationals will soon be able to visit each other’s territory without a visa after both nations recently signed a mutual visa-free agreement.

The agreement provides a 14-day visa-free access for Russians travelling to Hongkong and vice versa. The lifting of visa restrictions for short visits hopes to strengthen trade, business and tourism links between the two destinations.

“We will fully capitalise on the opportunity brought by this agreement by implementing a  series of promotions in Russia this year. Key market segments include middle-aged couples and family visitors,” said James Tien, chairman of the Hongkong Tourism Board (HKTB), which has a heighten focus on short-haul destinations like Russia to cope with the global recession.

The HKTB website now includes a Russian-language version to provide Russian consumers with relevant travel information.

Last year, the number of Russian tourists to Hongkong exceeded 37,000, while over 4,000 Russian visas were issued to Hongkong permanent residents. The two economies witnessed a US$1.7-billion bilateral trade turnover in 2008.

The new visa agreement will be enforced after completion of internal procedures by mid-year, after which the implementation of the new visa rule between Hongkong and Russia will be announced.

For more information, visit www.discoverhongkong.com/russia

Gigi Onag

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