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Greece's latest tourism industry news by Greek Travel Pages (gtp)

Russian Tour Operators Urge Early Bookings for Fear of Visa Delays

schengen-visa-moscow_1The tedious visa regime and seemingly short-staffed consulate offices in Russia are negatively affecting Russian bookings to Greece with local tour operators requesting travelers book two weeks in advance.

Despite being the fourth tourist destination of choice for Russian vacationers, visiting Greece is turning into a problem. So much so that the Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR) is suggesting through its webpage that holidaymakers book three to four weeks in advance in order to ensure that the visa procedure — which was supposed to take three days but can take as long as 10 days — goes through in time.

The Greek Foreign Ministry meanwhile is saying that there have been no cancellations due to visa delays and reiterates that the procedure will normalize soon. Greece boosted its visa offices in Russia earlier this year, employing more staff and simplifying the visa procedure.

According to Russian media, however, the exact duration of the procedure is still unclear. Despite the reported problems though, the number of Russian travelers selecting Greece as their holiday destination in March rose by 65.3 percent compared to the same period last year, Russia’s largest search engine Yandex revealed. Top choice for Russian holidaymakers for March was Thailand. In Greece, preferred destinations were Crete and Rhodes, with the greatest demand coming from Leningrad, Moscow and Kaliningrad.

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