Greek consular offices issued 90 thousand visas to Russians in May 2016, 32% more than the same period last year, the press service of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency announced on Wednesday.
"This year, Greece can be a major outbound direction for Russians. Currently, the Greek Consulate issues 50% more visas than consular services of other Schengen countries. In May alone, the Greek Consular Office issued 90 thousand entry documents, which is 32% higher the same period last year," the statement noted.
As explained by the press-service, issuing of Greek visas for Russian citizens has become the main issues at various meetings between representatives of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chief of the Federal Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov said that the agency expects Greece to undertake initiatives so as to improve the visa services and is ready to support them. Until now, the Greek consular service in Russia issues about 5-6 thousand visas a day, but it is possible to increase this figure to 10 thousand.
"I have been instructed by the Prime Minister of Greece, to remove all the problems associated with the issuing of visas to Russians. Technical issues have been resolved and staff of consular service has been expanded and now stands at 55 employees," said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Nikos Xydakis.
In May holidays, increased travel demand for Greece created problems with issuing of Schengen visas to Russian citizens. Rosturizm sent a letter to the Consul General of Greece in Moscow asking to solve the problem with the issuance of visas as soon as possible. This topic was also raised during the Russian-Greek conference in Athens, which was held on 11 May.
According to estimates, up to 1 million Russians can visit Greece in 2016 while there is also an increased interest by Greeks to travel to Russia.
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