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Russia invites Sri Lanka to recognise Mir payment system to boost Russian tourist arrivals

13 July 2022 09:48 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Nishel Fernando
As Russia remains being cut off from globally popular electronic payment systems, it invites Sri Lanka to recognise its Mir electronic payment system to boost Russian tourist arrivals to the Island nation.

“Connecting Sri Lanka to the financial remittance system of Bank of Russia and introducing Mir payment system to the island would allow establishing direct financial communication and currency exchange, cutting transactional losses, and making the process of bank transfers secure and stable. The implementation of these mechanisms in Sri Lanka would have a advancing impact on the tourism industry,” Attaché of the Russian Embassy in Colombo, Alexey Tseleshchev said.

He was speaking at a recent business forum held in Colombo, which was organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Russia and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) with the support of the Export Development Board and National Gem and Jewelry Authority.

Mir system was founded in 2014 over fears of Western sanctions in Russian banks and businesses over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.  In March this year, Mastercard and Visa suspended services in Russia, as the West imposed sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Further, American Express, PayPal, JCB and Western Union and digital wallets such as ApplePay and GooglePay have also suspended services in Russia. In the first two months of 2022, Russia became the top source market for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. However, since then Russian tourist arrivals have been on the decline with the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war.

So far, around eight countries including Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have recognised the Mir payment system, with over 100 million Mir issued payment cards in circulations. In addition, popular tourism destinations such as Thailand and Egypt are also considering allowing Mir payment system to attract Russian tourists.

Russia was placed among the top 10 globally for total outbound tourist expenditure in 2021 with Russian travellers spending US$ 22.5 billion aboard in the year. Amidst EU’s restrictions on Russian travel, popular tourist destinations such as Thailand are eyeing to attract more Russian travellers.

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