Russian tourists are now flocking to Spain for their vacations, after European Union sanctions and travel bans were imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.
The abolishment of the EU visa facilitation agreement with Russia by EU countries in 2022, as well as the increase of the visa fee for Russian applicants from €35 to €80, has not deterred Russians from traveling to Spain. In fact, Spain remains the top issuing country of Schengen visas in Russia.
According to newly released Schengen Visa data, one out of four Schengen visas obtained by Russian passport holders in 2022 was issued by Spain.
Many Russians have now replaced formerly popular destinations like France with others like Spain, partly due to the ease of acquiring visas.
The Schengen Area consulates and visa processing centers in Russia accepted and processed 687,239 applications in 2022, 603,955 of which were approved. 154,450 out of those were issued by the Spanish consulate.
Other countries in the Schengen zone issuing a high number of visas to Russians in 2022 are as follows:
Finland – 105,323 (782,173 in 2019)
Italy – 103,099 (548,057 in 2019)
Greece – 61,840 (407,339 in 2019)
France – 55,285 (480,968 in 2019)
Germany – 38,809 (325,754 in 2019)
Hungary – 25,081 (69,749 in 2019)
The number of Schengen visas filed worldwide in 2022 amounted to 7,572,755, which was 55 percent fewer than the number lodged in 2019.
Responding to these data, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) has advised Russian citizens to apply for Schengen visas at the Hungarian, Greek, and Italian consular authorities in Russia, noting that these countries are the best options for obtaining a Schengen visa.
“You can easily and quickly get a Schengen visa for a tourist trip to Hungary, thanks to a loyal visa policy. This is one of the most popular European countries among Russians, even under sanctions,” the ATOR said in a statement in February this year.
The ATOR also said that Spain is another Schengen country that is quite promising for Russians when it comes to having better chances at getting a Schengen visa.
Spain has always been a popular tourist destination for Russian tourists. Out of a total of 4.1 million Schengen Visa applications filed by Russians in 2019, over half a million were filed by the Spanish authorities.
Meanwhile, about 1.8 million Russians spent their holidays in Spain in 2019.