Russian tourist arrivals to Vietnam reached 250,000 this year, ranking among the top leading tourist arrivals to Vietnam for the second consecutive year, according to the latest figure released by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Russian tourists are lured to visit Vietnam because of charming beaches, beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and healthy food, said the Association of Tour Operators of Russia.

Many Vietnam ’s tour operators have recently developed and upgraded favourite destinations for Russian visitors such as Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Da Nang and Quang Nam. They have also designed tours for Muslim tourists.

Vietnam has reformed administrative management in a bid to create fast and easy procedures for foreign tourists to come to Vietnam.

Since 2009 Vietnam has offered visa exemption for Russian to enter the nation within 15 days. In 2013, some suggested to extend the visa- free stay to 30 days because Russian tourists usually have long holidays.

Vietnam-Russia air services have been strongly developed with opening of new direct flights such as Saint Petersburg – Nha Trang , Moscow – Nha Trang. According to Russian tourism experts, 29 Russian cities expressed their wish to have direct flights to Vietnam.

Russian tourists often choose to fly to Vietnam on chartered flights as Vietnam-Russia air services connect Vietnam’s major cities and Moscow, which is far from Russia’s Far East region where most Russian tourists to Vietnam come from.

The Vietnam Airlines has doubled its flights Moscow – Nha Trang – Moscow just after six months of operation and will increase to three flights a week in early 2014.

The Vietnamese tourism authority, buoyed by the rapid growth in Russian tourist arrivals in the last two years, has drawn up an ambitious plan to increase the number of Russian visitors to 300,000 in 2014.-VNA