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The tourism industry commented on the suspension by Latvia of issuing visas to Russians

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Latvia has not issued tourist visas to Russians since the spring of 2022. This was stated by the vice-president of the Alliance of Russian Travel Agencies (ATA) Aleksan Mkrtchyan, commenting to Izvestiya on the message of the Latvian embassy about the cessation of issuing visas to Russians for an indefinite period.

“Latvia is not the Czech Republic, which is not popular with Russian tourists, which also stopped issuing visas earlier. In the last eight to ten years, it has not been in demand among travelers. People mainly go to Latvia to visit relatives – for example, out of about 100 thousand Russians who visited there in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, only 20 thousand came for the purpose of tourism, ”the expert said.

According to Mkrtchyan, according to the laws of the European Union, no EU member state can prohibit the issuance of visas for humanitarian purposes, that is, in connection with the death of a close relative. Nobody forbids canceling other types of visas, he added.

The Latvian embassy announced the termination of issuing visas to Russians earlier on August 5. It is noted that the exception will be cases of entry to the funeral of close relatives.

At the end of July, the European Commission reported that the EU cannot completely ban the issuance of visas, since there will always be categories of people who should be issued visas. Nevertheless, the EC clarified that EU members have the right to stop issuing long-term visas.

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