ZAVIDOVO (Tver Region)(Sputnik) — The tourist flow from Russia to Qatar is insignificant, and, therefore, simplifying visa issuing procedures is rather a political move by Doha, the deputy head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Rostourism said Friday.
"Turism has always been and will be a soft power for solving particular issues. Qatar is not having good relations with its neighbor countries now, that is why, Qatar will pay special attention to the facilitation for the outside world from the standpoint of big politics. Probably, this [visa facilitation] also has some sort of foreign policy-oriented message, rather than the signal aimed at large number of tourists," Nikolay Korolev told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the Russian embassy in Doha was notified by Qatar's Interior Ministry notified that procedure for issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens was simplified. The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the visa facilitation for Russian citizens, visiting Qatar.
Previously, the procedure for issuing tourist visas for Russian citizens lasted for approximately one month. In order to obtain a visa, Russian citizens had to first receive a special permission from the Qatari Interior Ministry. Now, Russian citizens would be able to receive a tourist visa valid for one month when entering the country if certain conditions are met: having hotel booking confirmation, having return onward tickets and the amount of funds in the account equivalent to $1,500.
Russian officials claimed that they supported friendly relations with all the Persian Gulf states and called for overcoming the diplomatic crisis by diplomatic means. On June 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed Russia's readiness to continue dialogue with Doha in all spheres.