The tourism sector has its sights set on promoting Greece offerings, forging ties and forming partnerships on the occasion of the “Cross-Year Greece & Russia” events and is calling on the government to ensure that reinforced consular services are in place to handle the growing numbers of incoming travelers.
The cross-year was decided after a bilateral agreement between the two countries last year, and will feature a series of special events across both countries promoting Greek and Russian culture, traditions and values.
In view of the significance of the Russian market for Greek tourism, particularly after the Russia-Turkey conflict last year, tourism professionals are looking to regain lost ground and bring back even more Russian holidaymakers to Greek shores.
In order to achieve greater numbers of Russian tourists, however, Greek consular services must be able to cater to the growing demands in terms of visa documentation, Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) president Andreas Andreadis has repeatedly pointed out, adding that they should be in a position to issue some 15,000 biometric visas a day.
The cross-year is expected to contribute greatly to incoming tourism with a vast array of activities and events including economic congresses, conferences, exchange of business delegations, events in the fields of education, language learning, science, cultural heritage, art, sports as well as youth exchange programs.
It is vital, tourism professionals say, that the government seize this unique opportunity. A total of 1.175 million Russian tourists visited Greece in 2013, a figure which dropped by 13.6 percent in 2014 to 1.016 million. In the meantime, the Greek consular authorities had issued approximately 400,000 visas by September 2015.