Russia is easing visa restrictions for citizens of 18 nations to enter the port city of Vladivostok in a bid to lure gamblers to its new casinos and investors to its resource rich but still largely untapped Far East region. Iran, China and Japan are among the countries eligible for a new four-day, online application process for “visas on arrival.
Still, with Vladivostok the only point of entry so far approved, travel is restricted to eight days and only within the Primorsky Krai region.
Of the countries on the list, only two – China and Japan – can realistically be expected to make a difference to visitor numbers in the Far East of Russia, according to Irina Tyurina, a spokeswoman for the Russian Tourism Industry Union.
An already established visa system for Chinese tour groups of three or more means any boost will likely come from privately arranged visits and business trips. “The e-visa should make life easier especially for business people and those who visit Russia by themselves,” she said.
The list in full: Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, China, Japan, India, Singapore, North Korea, Brunei, Mexico, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey.
With this move, the Russian Government seeks to lure more gamblers to the new casinos at the Primorye Gaming Zone. Tigre de Cristal is currently the only gaming property operating in the region, with other projects in the pipeline.
After sorting local building requirements, NagaCorp recently announced that has restarted construction on its US$350m Mayak resort, which is expected to open early in 2019. NagaCorp said the new resort will be a centrepiece of Russia’s entertainment district, which will allow gambling and will include 1,000 hotel suites, 100 gaming tables, 500 gaming machines, a 2,000-seat theater and several entertainment, food and beverage outlets.