The ministry has prepared a draft agreement with Russia and has launchedits coordination at the national level. A joint Latvian-Russian tourism committee will be formed forimplementation of the agreement. The agreement provides for widecooperation between Latvian and Russian tourism agencies, organizationof tourism visits, conferences, exchanging topical information,cooperating in international organizations, carrying out joint trainingand research and other items, the ministry said.
Russia has been identified as a priority country by Latvia's Tourism DevelopmentState Agency (TAVA), which maintains an office in Moscow.
The ministry believes that Latvia has good chances to attract wealthytourists from Russia, offering health tourism products - combiningrehabilitation and medical services with tourism services.
The agreement will be signed after coordination procedure in bothcountries is completed.
Last year Latvia was visited by 343,000 tourists from Russia, up 26percent from 2006. Almost 7 percent of all foreign tourists in Latvia camefrom Russia, with only Lithuania and Estonia providing larger numbers oftourists. Official figures say that a larger number of Latvians - 387,200 - headed the other way and visitedRussia.
Travelers from Russia last year spent 38 million lats (EUR 54 mln) inLatvia as compared to 23.4 million lats in 2006, and their average stay inLatvia was 4.4 days.