A BANKO correspondent contacted Valentina Myagkova , Marketing director of Sun International in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries, to comment on the situation as Zambia is not on the official list of ‘visa-free’ countries for ( www.mid.ru).
According to Myagkova, there is an agreement between the hotel chain and Zambian authorities upon which for tourists arriving from Republic of South Africa to Royal Livingston and Zambezi Sun it is enough to have visa for Republic of South Africa for the whole period of staying in the country. Myagkova, pointed out that many Russian travel companies used this ‘loophole’ combining tours to Republic of South Africa and Zambia. ‘We simply provided our partners with tourists’ details and they got permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia to issue visas for our tourists at the airport on arrival to Zambia’, explained Elena Pavlyukova, Director Deputy of Smart Travel.
However, last week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia revoked the agreement. As a result on February 2nd two Russian tourists who did not have Zambian visas could not fly by South African Airways from Johannesburg to Livingston. ‘Although tourists were transported to Zambia by the other airline - Nation wide – and they were allowed to enter the country, the situation is still not clear. Therefore, we made a decision to warn travel companies in Russia’, commented Myagkova.