Latvia thinks moment is right to lure Russians


Representatives of Russia and Latvia, including around 20 Latvian travel agents, met this week at the Latvian Embassy in Moscow to discuss several topical issues. Russian tour operators and agencies have recently been incurring losses since Russians on the whole have been shocked by changes on the labour market. They either have no money to spend on a holiday or they are afraid to spend. One solution being discussed is a voucher given by accredited travel companies or their Latvian partners to make it easier to get a visa, bypassing the bureaucratic need for invitations. Now it is possible to get a visa within three days. Latvia as a destination carries advantages for Russian tourists, for example being geographically close and relatively inexpensive, having a moderate climate and an attractive coastline, and carrying no significant linguistic barriers. It also bears a “sentimental marketing” factor in that many Russians still have nostalgic memories of Jurmala and Riga. According to Uldis Vitolins, head of the Latvian Tourism Development Agency, one of the achievements of the meeting was the interest shown in his idea to establish an informal structure promoting Latvia as a tourist destination.


Chas, 2009-03-19

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