Kerala Tourism, along with its counterparts in Goa and Uttarakhand, are mulling a formal association with the Russian Tourism and Culture Ministry, in view of an increase in tourist arrivals from that country. The decision follows the recent visit of Kerala Tourism Director PI Sheikh Pareeth to Russia where he, along with tourism representatives from Goa and Uttarakhand, held discussions with Russian officials. Pareeth said 35,010 Russian tourists visited the State in 2014, up by 10 per cent over the previous year. Board mulled The idea is to formulate a board consisting of the Centre, the Ministry of Tourism, the Indian Embassy in Russia and the tourism departments of Kerala, Goa and Uttarakhand. The proposal will up put up to the Centre, a Kerala Tourism press release said here. The key areas under the proposed board’s purview would include a marketing campaign to increase the arrival of Russian tourists to India through various cultural and tourism promotional programmes. The talks were held between Olga Yarilova, Head of Tourism and Regional Policy Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and Pareeth at the Ministry of Culture, Russian Federation. A team of key Russian tour operators and State tourism representatives from Goa and Uttarakhand, India Tourism and Indian Embassy officials were present at the meeting. Russian demands The Russian delegation raised issues of reducing the visa fees and the airport fee incurred on chartered flights, which will be considered and taken up with the concerned authorities, the release said. The Russian officials also expressed concern about the lack of Russian guides in Kerala. “Considering the issues raised, we have agreed to publish a list of Russian guides in our Kerala Tourism’s Russian language version website,” said Pareeth. “We will also promote cultural exchange between Kerala and Russia where art performers from Kerala will go and perform there and Russian artistes will come and perform in Kerala,” he added.