Although fewer tourists from Russia are expected to travel this year due to the slight economic downturn in the country, Greece will aim to claim the largest possible share of the Russian tourism market, according to Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura.
Minister Kountoura is currently representing Greece at the Moscow International Exhibition Travel & Tourism (MITT) that opened on Wednesday.
Following meetings with leading tourism figures and professionals in Russia, Ms. Kountoura said in an announcement that the loyal tourism behavior of Russian travellers to Greece was very positive.
“The Russians love Greece very much and are repeat visitors,” she stated to the Athens News Agency (ANA).
When asked about the general problems connected with Russian visas, which tour operators believe have increased recently due to the Ukrainian crisis and “punitive” EU stance, Minister Kountoura said that — according to the Consulate General of Greece in Moscow — there is “no problem” from the Greek side.
She said that Greece wants to simplify the visa issuing process as much as possible since “it makes no sense to make it difficult for a tourist who is entitled to a multiple-entry visa valid for one or three years”.
According to the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR), this summer Greece intends to issue multiple-entry visas to Russian travellers in accordance to the visa regime.
While in Moscow, the Greek alternate tourism minister’s agenda included meetings with the Russian Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Manilova, the chief of Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency (Rostourism) Oleg Safonov, leading Russian tour operators and media representatives such as TTG Russia, Ars Press, Metrojet and Interfax.
During her meeting with Rostourism’s Oleg Safonov, the Greek-Russian friendship was confirmed and the further strengthening of tourism relations between the two countries was discussed. Mr. Safonov also applauded the excellent cooperation of the Greek National Tourism Organization’s branch in Moscow.
According to data by Rostourism, Greece ranked third in the leading destinations selected by Russian tourists for their trips abroad in 2014, recording a 17 percent drop compared to 2013.
Minister Kountoura also held talks with Russian tourist market professionals from Tez Tour, Biblio Globus, Ambotis, Pegas Touristik, Tui, Solvex, Panteon and Mouzenidis, who presented their plans for Greece’s new tourism season.