Embargo, visas and Russian travel to Greece : a crisis, “diplomatizkaya” by all means…


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Embargo, visas and Russian travel to Greece : a crisis, “diplomatizkaya” by all means….


Embargo, visas and Russian travel to Greece : a crisis, “diplomatizkaya” by all means…


  • Expectations for exclusion of the Greek exports from the Russian embargo expressed by the Greek government 
  • Greek Government spokesperson: “Our Relations with Russia are good”
  • Greek Minister of Tourism: Extensive talks with the Russian side, diplomats involved also

Near half a billion Euros is the bill for Greece, from the Russian embargo on imports, a loss unbearable for Greece and Greeks, on this moment, by the farmers of fresh fruits to appear as the most desperate, since the announcement of the news . The Greek authorities and politicians remain, though, impressively optimistic till now, expressing their estimate, that due to the progress of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, Greece would be excluded from the embargo of Russia’s countries’ list. “Our Relations with Russia are good”, commented on Real Radio Thursday morning the government’s spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi .

Meanwhile, Greece had to face the Russian Travel Agencies’ tsounami which unfolded just the days before, accutely and rapidly, in less than a week .
On Tuesday, another Russian travel agency had gone bankrupt, leaving about 500 of its clients stranded abroad, and depriving about 1,300 voucher holders of their vacation, as the Russian News Agency, Itar-Tass reported .
The Russian Travel Agencies’ Domino 

After tourist agencies Neva, Roza Vetrov Mir, Expo Tour, Ideal Tour and Labirint, that have all wound up their activities since mid-July, on Tuesday  The IntAer travel operator joined the list of bankruptcies on Tuesday in tourist agencies sector.

IntAer said on its website on Tuesday, August 5,  that it had halted its business “due to a sharp fall in demand and purchasing power and the rise in the exchange rates of foreign currencies and the negative political situation.”

In Greece, Olga Kefallogiani, the minister of Tourism in Greece, had appeared reassuring that the problem will be solved but on the first day, at the start of this sequel. Olga Kefalogianni, commenting on air to Manos Niflis, on the Real fm Radio, she pointed out that “the Russian side intends to compensate Greek hotel owners who have been damaged by the bankruptcy of Labirint. We keep in touch, and on constant talks with the Russian side”, she said, “not only with the businessmen, but also with the embassies”.

The Greek minister of Tourism had expressed her satisfaction “for the fact that the private tourist companies showed maturity”, she said, and she stressed that Greece has made a good impression to the tourist market of Russia. She reassured that the Russian customers of the agency in Greece — who are estimated at 8,000 to 10,000 — will soon return to their country.

IntAer’s civil liability was insured at Reso-Garantia insurance company to the total amount of $1.7 million according to the Tass. Russian Tourist Union spokeswoman Irina Tyurina said the union had already sent an inquiry about the number of clients affected by the suspension of IntAer’s activities.

The spokeswoman said IntAer was a small travel agency and therefore “the number of tourists who will be affected will not be so large as was the case with Neva or Labirint travel agencies, for example.”

Meanwhile about 15,000 Russian tourists who have bought travel services from Labirint are currently waiting for their return to Russia.

About 20 tourist companies have gone bankrupt in Russia since 2010 when a series of bankruptcies rocked the Russian tourism sector, while the Current conflict with Ukraine as well as EU sanctions against Russia seems to be worsening their position.


 Russian tourists in Greece, a “good deal”

Earlier this year, when predictions and expectations for Russian Travel to Greece where much higher for both sides, the Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni had promised to to make visa proceedures from Russia obviously simpler, on purpose to abolish the visa from Russia at all. On her meeting in Moscow on April 2014 with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Alexander Radkov, he had described Greece as a “strategic partner” and had noted the rapid advances in bilateral Greek-Russian relations in tourism.

Alexander Radkov, the ANSA MED had wrote, had emphasised that the number of Russian tourists choosing Greece as their destination had increased 80 percent compared within the previous year,mentioning also as very interesting the point that Greek tourists to Russia had also increased in numbers during 2013, contrary to the austerity, by an “equally, impressive 30 percent rise” as he had said.

Visas in 48 hours anbd less

Stating to the press after their meeting, Radkov had thanked Greece’s General Consulate in Moscow for their work, “noting that the season had been a success”

He pointed out that Russians  book holidays at the last minute, which meant that they would select destinations that either did not require visas or where visas could be obtained relatively easily.

Kefalogianni, talking to the reporters, had underlined that roughly 900,000 visas were issued by the Greek consulate in Russia in the first nine months of 2013, adding that Greece was the only EU country “that made this progress, to issue visas within 48 hours and would do anything possible, within the framework of the Schengen treaty, to help Russian tourists. 

She also noted that Greece intends to raise the issue of further simplifying visa procedures with its EU partners notes the Itar-Tass