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2016 Year of Greece in Russia

A cross-cultural year between Greek and Russia, “Greece in Russia, Russia in Greece, 2016,” under the auspices of both governments, was inaugurated on 11 March with the official display of three golden Scythian finds from the collection of Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum at the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the signature of a Memorandum for 2016 between the two parties. This event was the first among more than one hundred in the fields of art, culture, sports, tourism, education, economy, agriculture, science, technology, etc., scheduled to take place in 2016 in Greece and Russia, to further advanced ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
The cross-cultural year "Greece in Russia, Russia in Greece, 2016," coupled with the overall geopolitical situation in the region, signifies a period during which there has been a significant growth of interest of Russian travelers to visit Greece. An estimation shows that this year the number of Russian tourists in Greece is likely to exceed 1 million, which would mean that it would double compared to their number in 2015. An impetus in this direction would be given by an increase, in some cases up to 50%, in the number of Visa Application Centres, VCA, of Greece in Russia, reaching a total of 27, which will operate in Moscow, in St. Petersburg etc.

Though issuing a visa in Russia for Greece is one of the fastest procedures compared to the time required for issuing visas for other European countries, Greek Consulates in Russia have already been re-staffed to speed even more the Visa issuing procedures.

Along the same lines, the GNTO this year has greatly enhanced its presence in the International Travel Fair, INTOURMARKET (Moscow, 19-22 March), the major tourism exhibition of Russia, in the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition, MITT, (Moscow, 23-26 March), one of the five largest in the world, as well as in LETO (St. Petersburg, April 1-3), the the most important tourism trade fair in the northwest region of Russia, while the outcome seems to be encouraging. It should be noted that during the MITT there was a meeting of Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with the Russian Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Yurievna Manilova and the chief of the Federal Tourism Agency, Rostourism, Oleg Safonov, where they agreed to convene a bilateral forum for tourism in Athens next May as well as a conference on religious-pilgrimage tourism.



The General Secretary of the GNTO Mr. Dimitris Tryfonopoulos stated on the official site of the “Year of Greece in Russia” (www. elru2016.gr) that “this initiative is going to bring Greece closer to Russia. Both countries are planning various events in different fields, which will introduce the Greek culture to Russians and vice versa. We are positive that each Russian or Greek citizen that will attend any event, savour the country’s cuisine and see the museum's treasures will feel the urge to visit the other country and enjoy its hospitality more than once. Moreover, the opportunity offered to tour operators to collaborate with Greece this year will strengthen their market position”.
In reference to what product the Russian tourist enjoy Mr. D. Tryfonopoulos underlined that “Russians really appreciate Greek beaches and its sea. Furthermore, in the past in Russia only the Parthenon, Knossos, Mycenae were renown, but nowadays tourists travel long distances to meet other historic treasures of Greece. However there are other forms of tourism that are not sufficiently projected in the Russian market. Therefore we would like to dynamically promote the following sectors of tourism to Russians: wellness, gastronomy, religion, sports etc.

It should be noted that the GNTO is preparing a culinary presentation in honour of this special year in Moscow as well as in other cities and participation in theatrical performances. Finally during the month of May there will be a stand in Moscow’s GUM, where anyone will be able to get detailed tourist information about Greece.

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