Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis will arrive in Moscow next week to hold talks with the Russian authorities.
The main topic of the visit will be a gradual increase in the weekly limit up to the complete lifting of restrictions on the number of Russian tourists entering Greece, as well as probing the possibility of an early full opening of Greece for Russians, which, as you know, is scheduled for mid-May.
According to sources in the Ministry of Tourism, “Greece expresses confidence in tourism from Russia.” As expected, the program of the visit of the Greek minister to the Russian capital will include meetings with travel agents and government officials in charge of tourism.
The representatives of the authorities who are directly involved in inbound tourism from Russia made it clear to Mr. Teocharis that this sphere cannot function if the number of entries is limited, which is also understood by the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism.
The representative of Greece will meet in Moscow with a number of officials, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin (who, by the way, visited Hellas as part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek revolution), in order to soon try to reach a positive solution on the bilateral agreement between Greece and Russia on tourism, in connection with the official start of the tourist season, scheduled for May 14 this year.
According to experts, it is too early to talk about a bilateral agreement with Russia, but the Greek side intends to do everything in their power to ensure that the season again has a positive indicator and reaches the level of 2019 (for Russians entering the country).
And while Russian interest in Greece remains generally high, according to tourism luminaries, the events surrounding the pandemic in Greece seem to be of concern to Russians. This is evidenced by a survey on the Russian website Tourdom, according to which 35% of respondents would not like to make predictions about the possibility of vacationing in Greece in the summer of 2021. At the same time, 33% believe that Russian tourists this summer should not dream of Europe, including Greece. Another 13% hope to visit Greece in autumn 2021. And only 17% of respondents are of the opinion that Greece will not delay the start of the tourist season.
“Greece and Cyprus will claim a share of the Russian market”
Since March 21, the restrictions on the admission of Russians in Greece have changed. Instead of 500 people, travel is now available for 4000 per week. This measure was extended until April 19, with the arrival exclusively by air and only through three airports: Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion.
To visit Greece, Russians must have a certificate of passing a coronavirus test with a negative PCR result, made at least 72 hours before arriving in the country. “The goal is to remove restrictions on 14 May or a little earlier, including on the number of people, and to expand the number of entry gates for the possibility of charter flights,” explains Dimitris Haritidis, Director of Tez Tour Greece.
However, so far there is no direct flight between Russia and Greece, which means that this measure is aimed exclusively at business and family trips, but not at mass tourism. The head of the tour operator Tez Tour Greece said that Greece will be able to claim a significant share of the Russian “European” tourist flow, sharing it only with Cyprus. The rest of Europe is not expected to open to Russians this summer.
Recall that the slogan of the Greece tourism campaign in 2021 sounds like this: “All you want is Greece” (“All you wants in Greece”, “Το μόνο που θέλεις, είναι η Ελλάδα”).