Japanese Visitors to Russia's Far East Surging
Tokyo, July 8 (Jiji Press)--The number of Japanese visitors to Russia's Far East, including Vladivostok, is surging two years after Moscow introduced an electronic visa system for trips to the region.
The annual number of Japanese visitors to the Primorsky Krai coastal region in Russia's Far East surpassed 20,000 for the first time last year. The figure, which was below 10,000 before the introduction of the electronic visa system, is forecast to double this year.
The administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been expanding the coverage of the electronic visa system in stages.
The move is apparently intended to attract business people and tourists to improve the Russian economy hurt by Western sanctions imposed over the 2014 Ukraine crisis, as well as change the country's image of being closed.
"Japanese people have not been aware that there is 'Europe' near Japan, but that way of thinking is starting to change," said Masato Nakamura, a travel journalist who will release a book about Vladivostok this month.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]