Tourists in Athens, Greece.
The rest of thousands of Russians in Greece for the may holiday was under threat because of delays in obtaining visas. About this “Interfax” reported the press Secretary of the Russian Union of travel industry (PCT) Irina Turina.
Tyurina said that now the building of the visa center of European countries in Moscow are huge queues, in particular, on Friday, April 22, people were in total about five hours. According to the organization, in the Greek Consulate in Moscow could accumulate more than 10 thousand passports.
“The hype preceded the recording restriction on filing, which is April 13-14, entered the visa application centre. This was done at the request of the Consulate: it staff do not have time to handle incoming requests”, — explained Tyurin. According to her, two of the visa center on April 22 2.6 thousand persons, from them 1,8 who were customers of travel agencies and 900 people came without prior appointment. A spokesman for the PCT said that is usually taken as 400 visitors per day.
Tyurina said that on the morning of April 23 held a meeting of tour operators with the Consul General of Greece Mrs. Eleni Michalopoulou, during which she apologized for “Friday’s collapse”. “But the answers to the questions, as the head of the Consulate intends to organize the work, to review all received documents, and will have time to obtain visas tourists paid for tours to Greece, was not followed. But it is known that, in contrast to the visa application centre, Consulate on Saturday didn’t work”, she added.
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The head of the Union also noted that the Consulate is processing up to 800 passports a day. “It is easy to calculate as it takes days to make 10 thousand visas if we move at a pace. Especially because the Consulate is still not have additional staff, which the Greek foreign Ministry to gaining usually high season. But even if they will appear today, they still have to train,” said a representative of the Union, Recalling that on 29 April, the Consulate does not work because of Easter, and for the same reason, work day April 28, is likely to be shortened.
The head of the regional representation of the company-operator of the visa centers VFS Global, the Saint Prabuddha in turn said that in this situation the visa center will operate around the clock seven days a week.
According to Rosstat, the departure from Russia abroad “for the purpose of tourism” in 2015 decreased by 31.3%, while from Europe the largest decline showed Greece (-48%), having moved from third to fifth place in the top ten. At the same time, the authorities have repeatedly stated that they expect the growth of Russian tourist flow to the level of 2013, i.e. about 1.4 million trips per year.
In early March it became known that Greece is planning to open new visa centers in Arkhangelsk, Petrozavodsk, Pskov and Veliky Novgorod.