Data received Bloomberg show that Spain has issued a total of 108,862 Schengen tourist visas to Russians this year. This is three times more than the same period last year.
The Spaniards themselves cannot explain the reasons why the number of Russian tourists has increased so much, despite strict restrictions throughout the EU.
In fact, everything is logical: European countries neighboring Russia have almost completely closed their borders for Russians, suspended the issuance of tourist visas for Russians and no longer allow them to enter the EU.
At the same time, Spain is not included in their number. The Spaniards did not close their borders, did not suspend or restrict the issuance of visas to Russian citizens.
Despite the fact that Spain did not impose restrictions, the country still followed the official recommendation of the European Commission to suspend the agreement on simplification of the visa regime with Russia. At the suggestion of the Commission, the visa fee for Russian applicants has been increased from 35 to 80 euros.
Back in September, the Commission suggested that the time for consideration of applications would be increased. In addition, the same suggested that member states apply stricter rules when it comes to issuing multiple-entry visas for Russians and require them to submit additional documents.
Just in October, Spain registered at its airports nearly eight million international arrivals. The country's tourism ministry said Spain had recovered 95 percent of tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019, while the Balearic and Canary Islands received 6.2 percent more tourists than before the pandemic.