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Greece Offers Extended Visas To Russian Tourists

The Foreign Ministry last month announced a visa extension to Russian citizens that were on holiday in Greece and hesitant to return to their fire-stricken homeland.

Deadly wildfires struck central Russia in late July with a death toll from weeks of blazes reaching over 50. More than 3,500 citizens were left homeless.

According to the ministry, Russian visitors in Greece could extend their stay until 10 September regardless of the arrival date.

Although the Greek government announced the visa extension to be a gesture of support, press reports suggested Greece was trying to improve its image with tourists as recent strikes by truck drivers and airport staff disappointed many visitors upon their stay in the country.

The Russian market is among top priorities on the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s agenda.

During a three-day trip to Moscow in late July, Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis told a press conference that the aim of Greece’s tourism policy is to attract one million Russian tourists over the next three to four years.

In regards to the delay in the issuing of visas to travel from Russia to Greece, Mr. Nikitiadis assured Russian officials that the staff in the Greek Consulate in Moscow would increase to serve visa requests of Russian travelers on a quicker pace.

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