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Russia opens its ports to cruising sailors

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 16 Feb 2011
Tall ships in St Petersburg - now the cruising sailor will have access .. .
It has long been known as a very very difficult country to visit, taking about three months to get permissions, with ten separate authorities to give their stamp of approval. But Russia is now opening its port and canals to visiting yachts and superyachts, hopefully in time for summer sailing.

The country is aiming at improving its tourist trade by drawing more cruising sailors - boats and yachts under foreign flag.

Russia has a well-developed network of canals and a myriad of navigable rivers, but so far few foreigners have explored the possibilities the country has to offer the adventuring sailor.

According to Russian Business Consulting, up until now a sailor wanting to visit Russia had had to apply to the Ministry of Transport and get approvals from nearly ten other organs like the Foreign Ministry, FSB and Ministry of Defense.

The Russian National Sailing Federation (VFPS), Ministry of Transport and the State Duma’s Committee for Transport all agree that the rules must change if Russia is to become more attractive for sailing tourists.

A draft bill on changes to the Law on Transport on Internal Waters is now being discussed by the Russian Government. The involved parties hope that the bill will be carried within the end of the State Duma’s spring session.

- A solution of this problem would give a boost to tourism both in coastal towns as well as in the inland. It will create new jobs and help develop the regions, says Head of the VFPS and Governor of Tver Oblast Dmitry Zelenin. He adds that the application procedure should take no more than a week.

The new law will concern boats under foreign flag with maximum 18 persons on board, so the new laws will allow small superyachts to visit as well. The hundreds of interlinking canals will potentially provide a holiday experience similar to barge cruising in England or France.

What an experience to look forward to!

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