The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the Hellenic Russian Chamber of Commerce recently exchanged views to find solutions to difficulties that have arisen in the processing of biometric visa applications of Russian citizens wishing to visit Greece.
The chamber was represented by its secretary general, Naum Markopoulos and head for tourism issues, Yiannis Tsihlis. SETE was represented by its general manager, George Amvrazis and president’s advisor, Ioanna Dretta.
During the meeting, the chamber’s representatives informed on practices implemented successfully by other EU countries in regards to the Russian tourism market. The chamber suggested for the Greek Government to examine and adopt these practices.
On his part, Mr Amvrazis referred to the latest developments in regards to the visa issue and underlined the increased demands that must be met by the Greek Consulate for the upcoming summer season, given that this is the first time Greece will be issuing biometric visas for Russians.
The new visa regime requires applicants to give their fingerprints when applying for the first time, with data stored for five years after the expiry of the visa.
However, tourism industry professionals have repeatedly expressed concerns that the tedious procedure is turning away tourists. They have called on the government to set up more visa centers and hire more consular employees in order to effectively deal with the processing of biometric visa applications.
The foreign ministry said in statement last week that it has given consular authorities the right to hire seasonal personnel should they see fit.