Russian Tourism Chief Safonov: 1 million tourists from Russia to visit Greece this year

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Russian Tourism Chief Safonov: 1 million tourists from Russia to visit Greece this yearRussian Tourism Federal Agency head Oleg Safonov was keynote speaker at the forum titled “Russia and Greece: Reality and Prospects for Cooperation in the Tourism Sector”, which included B2B meetings aimed at securing business deals and partnerships betwee

The number of Russian tourists in Greece this year may reach 1 million, according to Russian Tourism Federal Agency head Oleg Safonov, who adressed the Greek-Russian travel forum at Grand Resort Lagonissi hotel in Athens on Tuesday.

Safonov was keynote speaker at the forum titled “Russia and Greece: Reality and Prospects for Cooperation in the Tourism Sector”, which included B2B meetings aimed at securing business deals and partnerships between Greek and Russian tourism enterprises.

The forum was organized by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism Rostourism aiming to establish a strong connection between the two countries in order to increase mutual tourist flow.

The theme of the forum was “Russia and Greece: reality and prospects for cooperation in the tourism sector” and welcome speeches were given by Economy, Development & Tourism Minister Giorgos Stathakis, Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and the head of Rostourism, Oleg Safonov.

The event was attended by more than 100 government representatives, regional tourism figures, leading tour operators and journalists from both countries.

Greece leading the Russian market throughout May

During his speech, Mr. Safonov noted that Greece was leading the Russian market all throughout May and recalled that in 2013 this country attracted the maximum number of Russian tourists with 1.2 million arrivals, to be followed by a downward trend during 2014-2015.

It seems, however, that this year there will be a significant recovery and he is convinced that "the number of Russian visitors may reach 1 million."

The head of the Russian Tourism Federal Agency also referred to long-term bonds of Greece and Russia in the fields of religion and history verifying that ''Russians love Greece and they like to travel here. They like the beaches and the sunny climate, but there is room for expansion of their travel choices to other less known destinations within the country."

Mr. Safonov concluded by announcing that there will be held more than 50 joint events in the context of the Hellenic-Russian Friendship Year 2016.

Greece expects sharp increase in Russian tourists, minister says

It seems, therefore, that Greece will possibly be the "champion" that will take advantage of the Russian tourists' refusal to visit Turkey and Egypt this summer.

Russia’s tourism officials have said that Turkey and Egypt will not be destinations for its citizens for the rest of 2016 following the downing of a Russian military aircraft last year and concerns over safety.

The arrivals of Russian tourists are expected to increase by 20-70 percent this year, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis said in an interview with ANA-MPA's radio "Praktorio 104.9 FM" on Wednesday.

Xydakis said that despite the high demand for tourist visas in Russia, the Greek Consulate services are responding adequately and reassured that at the end of next month the number of Greek employees working for the Greek Consulate's visa services will increase to 100.

Greece must triple visa issuing capacity to attract Russian tourists

Nevertheless, Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis had earlier warned that if Greece does not reach the target of issuing 7,000 visas on a daily basis to Russians, then it will fail to see enhanced arrival numbers from that market.

According to him, the goal of issuing 7,000 visas a day for Russians must be attained by the end of the month, or else the prospect of increased arrivals from Russia will be lost which will result to a huge loss of revenue for the tourism industry and the Greek economy.

The Foreign Ministry, by Deputy Minister Nikos Xydakis, has assured that the procedure will normalize and the target of issuing 7,000 visas a day will rise from the current 2,000 by the end of May”, Mr. Andreadis underlined.

According to recent press reports, Russians are attracted to Greece’s natural beauty, its religious tourism options and entertainment. Yet, the intense and prolonged problems with issuing visas have caused Russian citizens to have a bad impression in regards to the process.

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

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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