MITT: Greece agrees to host Greek-Russian Forum on Tourism in May 2016

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MITT: Greece agrees to host Greek-Russian Forum on Tourism in May 2016Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura agreed with Russian Deputy Culture Minister Yurievna Manilova and Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency Rostourism chief Oleg Safonov that Athens will host a Greek-Russian forum on tourism this coming May

Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura agreed with Russian Federation Deputy Culture Minister Yurievna Manilova and the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism Rostourism, Oleg Safonov, that Athens will host a Greek-Russian forum on tourism this coming May.

Ms. Kountoura announced the initiative during the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT), which opened on Wednesday and will be completed by March 26 at the Moscow Expocentre.

The initiative will be a part the joint Greco-Russian initiative of the ‘Year 2016′ aimed to highlight and strengthen the close historical and cultural ties between the two nations and to promote each county’s culture to the other

Conference on religious/pilgrimage tourism

The May forum aims to boost the exchange of tourists between the two countries and will also feature a conference on religious/pilgrimage tourism, with the participation of governmental and regional tourist operators from Russia and Greece, Russian media and tourism professionals.

Russian summer holiday bookings for Greece already record a 25%-30% increase compared to last year, while leading tour operators forecast that sales may ultimately rise by more than 40%.

A general upward trend is evident but its intensity varies by destination and by tour operator.

This year has a special and increased interest for Greece, not because there are dramatic developments in the country's general status in relation to Russian outbound tourism market, but because of radical changes in relation to other, competitive popular destinations of Russians, such as Turkey and Egypt.

Generally speaking, this year there are significant economic difficulties in Russia but the ruble appears to be stabilizing near a better rate, and this parameter can positively influence the flow of outgoing traffic, as we approach the summer season.

Favored destinations

Destinations that have been favored by recent ruble fluctuations and geopolitical developments include Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and, secondarily, Israel.

Egypt also seems to be recovering lately and there is ample talk about the possibility of the specific destination "opening" in May, despite the Russian government's opposition to such an eventuality.

For Greece, the main key remains the rate of biometric visas delivery.

Greek authorities already started simplifying visa procedures for Russians by enabling local Greek consulates to start issuing three-year multivisas.

The recent impressive declaration by Head of Russian Federal Tourism Agency Rosturism Oleg Safonof that Greece is ready to issue visas within 48 hours, is proof of how closely Russia and Greece are working on this issue and the results remain to be seen.

New visa issuing centers

New Greek visa issuing centers will open next Monday, March 28, at 7 Russian cities of Arkhangelsk, Novgorod, Vologda, Voronezh, Petrozavodsk, Pskov and Smolensk, according to information transmitted by the information platform of Russian tourism union ATOR.

Furthermore, on the same day a new visa center is to be opened in Moscow dedicated only to individual travelers.

The following visa and consular centers already operate in Russia: Consulate General in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novorossiysk, Computer Center in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Krasnoyarsk, Ufa, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Omsk, Perm, Saratov, Novorossiysk, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg and Murmansk.

Therefore, by the end of March, there will be a total of 28 greek visa centers operating in Russia.

The total number of visas (travel agencies and private combined) fell to 415,633 during 2015, reduced by 47.1% in comparison to 2014 when it exceeded 789,000, a record that can be broken this year.

 

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

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