New Visa Regime May Push Russian Tourists Away
A new visa regime comes on top of an “unfriendly” exchange rate to push all the more Russian tourists away from Greece.
According to Greek financial daily Euro2day, Russian tour operators are considering cutting their package tours to Greece, ahead of a new visa regime to take force on September 14, which will require Russians traveling to EU countries to show up personally at a Schengen consular station to give finger prints and photos in order to obtain visas.
The visa applicants will be required to give their fingerprints only when applying for the first time, with data stored for five years after the expiry of the visa.
Sources cited by Euro2day say the new visa regulation comes as a blow to the already dwindling number of arrivals from Russia to Greece, and add that the new program will most likely discourage Russian travelers making last-minute plans based on running offers.
Furthermore, reports say that Greek consular services will be closed for seven days (September 7-13) in order to get the system up and running, compared to Spanish authorities, which will remain closed for three days (September 11-13).
Arrivals from Russia to Greece, between January and May this year have dropped by a massive 58 percent, compared to the same period last year.