You can now visit Murmansk and Arkhangelsk without visa
The decree was signed in Moscow on July 22 by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Murmansk and Arkhangelsk have for years been waiting for permission to welcome foreign visitors on cruise vessels not holding a tourist visa to Russia. The hope is a boost in tourism like in St. Petersburg where the 72 hours visa free visits have been in place for years.
For Murmansk, new facilities are made ready in the central seaport, including a border-crossing check-point at the new 206-meters long pier where cruise vessels can stay. Earlier, visiting cruise vessels had to make port call to the Fishery harbor, several kilometers from the centre of the city, in an area not exactly designed for modern tourism.
«The successful implementation of projects for passenger port infrastructure for the tourism market enables Murmansk to become one of the most unique cruise and ferry points,» the regional authorities of Murmansk says in a statement.
Earlier this year, Russia’s Federal Agency for tourism said the goal is to have Murmansk as the main attraction centre for all Arctic cruises. The number of tourists to the Russian Arctic has increased tenfold over the last 20 years. In 2015, cruise vessels made 13 port calls to Murmansk, bringing more than 10,000 visitors.
In the White Sea, both Arkhangelsk city and the archipelago of Solvki are highlights for visiting foreign cruise vessels.
Last winter, a group of tourist companies asked the Foreign Ministry to ease the visa regulation, arguing a visa waiver to Russia could increase the number of foreign visitors by 30 to 40 percent.