Russia may start mandatory fingerprinting for tourists from European nations. The suggestion comes from Rosturizm, a tourism agency in the country, which wants European tourists’ fingerprints when they apply for Russian visa.
While Russia is thinking about mandatory fingerprinting for the entire Europe, it may show selective leniency to certain other countries by introducing visa-free group visits. Rosturizm Head Oleg Safronov said that amending present tourism legislature would be required.
"European Union countries introduced obligatory fingerprinting for Russians applying for visas," TASS quoted Safronov as saying. "In response to this obviously unfriendly step, it is planned to introduce a similar requirement [in Russia]."
Safronov, on the other hand, agreed that introducing “obligatory fingerprinting” might see a drop in the number of European tourists visiting Russia. He was speaking during the Russian State Council’s presidium session on tourism in Crimea.
Safronov wants Russia to emphasize particularly on domestic tourism. He added there was lack of transparency in Russia’s tourism business. He also said the problem could be sorted out by making a “unified list” of travel agencies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, the chairman of the presidium session on tourism, earlier wanted to ease visa restrictions for BRICS countries. He said that easing “visa regime” would attract more foreign visitors to Russia. He talked about introducing “visa-free group exchange” for visitors from BRICS countries.
This is not the first time Russia is talking about mandatory fingerprinting for tourists. Media reports surfaced in November 2014, saying that Russia would require fingerprints to process visa applications from foreigners. It was mentioned that the “compulsory biometric registration” would start at Russian embassies in a number of countries like Denmark and the U.K. from Dec. 10.