The European Commission did not allow the Greek Islands to receive tourists from Russia without visas

The European Commission did not allow the Greek Islands to receive tourists from Russia without visas

Moscow. 13 Feb. INTERFAX.RU the European Commission did not approve the project on visa-free visits to the Greek Islands in the Eastern Aegean sea with tourists from countries that are not members of the EU, according to Greek portal Rodiaki.

In addition, because of the security issues and the problem of refugees was not extended the special visa program for Turkish travelers, which operated from 2012. Turkish citizens arriving at ports of the Eastern Islands of the Aegean sea, received one-day visa. The program ended on 30 October last year.

As the newspaper notes, the decision of the EC could have a negative impact on the tourism industry of the Islands.

These tourists compensated for losses from the decline in tourist arrivals from Europe.

The Greek authorities intend to expand the staff of consulates in Turkey, to minimize the consequences of the decision of the European Commission, which could deter tourists.

The authorities of South Aegean region Greece earlier appealed to the Commissioner for migration, home Affairs and EU citizenship to expedite the launch of the pilot program, a special visa regime for tourists from third countries arriving in the ports of several Islands from the territory of Turkey.

The project was proposed to begin from March 2017 for tourists from Iran, from April — for Russians and guests from Turkey.

According to authorities on the Greek Islands, it could become a support for tourism in the region, which has dealt a serious blow with the migrant problem. In a difficult economic and financial situation, the strengthening of tourist arrivals to the southern Islands of the Aegean sea is of vital importance for the region.

Currently, Greece on the volumes of inbound tourist traffic takes the 15th place in the world, the contribution of tourism industry to GDP in this year was 20%. The average load of hotels in Greece exceeded in 2016 70%. The growth of tourist flow from Russia reached 25% compared to last year, UK 19%, Germany down 16%, from Poland and the USA — by 7%.

In 2016, the number of visitors to Greece, the Russian tourists will amount to about 900 thousand. By 2020, the country expect to increase tourist flow in the whole to 35 million people.