In an unusual context, Russian-Greek tourism was discussed last week at a forum in Athens. Problems, however, were raised by understandable and expected ones: demand, visas. But we also touched on those that are still spoken of little: social tourism, for example. What they talked about and what the participants of the forum from Russia and Greece proposed were recorded by Profi. ravel.
The Russian-Greek forum of interregional and intermunicipal humanitarian cooperation in the framework of the Russia-Greece cross year, held with the support of Rossotrudnichestvo and the Moscow government, is not the most familiar platform for tourist business: tourism was discussed here by itself, but in the context of humanitarian and economic issues.
On the one hand, experts from very different fields of activity have gathered here, between which it is not always possible to find common ground, on the other hand, this is perhaps what allows attracting the attention of different levels of government and different experts.
The tourism section of the forum, moderated by the President of the Alliance of Travel Agencies of the Russian Federation, Andrei Gavrilov, was attended by professionals from the Russian and Greek travel industry.
Members of the Board of the Association of Travel Agencies arrived at the forum almost in full from the Russian side. Representatives of large associations also spoke from Greece: Nicholas Kalaitidis from the Federation of Greek Travel Agencies, Ioanis Tsikhlis, Head of the Tourism Council of the Greek-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Marketing Director of the Grecotel Group of Companies, as well as Secretary General of the National Tourism Organization of Greece Dimitris Trifonopulus.
440 thousand Russian tourists visited Greece in 9 months of 2016.
The trip of Russians to Greece was given the greatest attention at the forum, here tourist flows number hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Both Russian and Greek experts were unanimous in determining the factors that determine the current situation in the industry.
Undoubtedly, the strengths of Greece are its developed hotel base, including hotels with an all-inclusive system, and safety for tourists, and the historical and spiritual community of our countries. However, there are also difficulties: a decrease in the purchasing power of Russians, geopolitical tensions, a negative information background around Greece associated with visa problems and migrants.
Alexander Ivanov, Turizm Development Director. u, representative of the TBS group of companies
- When Egypt and Turkey were closed, it became obvious that it was Greece that was the main contender for this tourist flow. And already in March 2016, the flow of tourists to Greece from Russia increased fivefold. Greece was also the best seller for the May holidays. But on the eve of the high season, the consulate was not ready for the influx of tourists, and the visa collapse began. A wave of negativity swept through the media.
As a result, in May, demand growth returned to the trivial 10%. Tour operators began to remove flights from the regions, combine transportation, transfer tourists from flight to flight. And this caused negativity again.
Fortunately, under the leadership of the new Consul General Ioanis Pediotis, we managed to "clean up" a significant part of the rubble and the situation began to improve. And the habit of Russian tourists to wait for special offers and to book at the last moment helped Greece not to ruin the season after the visa clamor.
As you know, a rather impressive part of Greece's GDP is formed by revenues from the tourism industry. One of the most promising areas of development today is religious tourism. This is due to many factors. First of all, with the presence of a fairly impressive target audience.
At the heart of any tourist destination is the fulfillment of a number of needs of potential customers. Religious and pilgrimage tours have a dual purpose and are focused on strictly defined categories of people. It should be said that the needs of these people differ sharply from the targeted requests of ordinary travelers.
If we talk about pilgrimage tourism, it is based on the desire of representatives of a certain religion (confession) to touch the shrines of this religion, to worship the memory of the saints with whose name this or that place is associated. As a rule, pilgrims make their trip with different goals. This desire:
In fact, the list of spiritual expectations of a religious person that he meets as part of a tourist trip to holy places can be extended. Thus, believers are highly motivated to visit holy places. In this regard, pilgrim tourism will never lose its relevance. Most often, people go on pilgrimages for whom ordinary ritual actions are not enough to express their faith. Pilgrimages as a type of travel have arisen for a long time. Within the framework of Orthodox Christianity, pilgrimages have a great historical experience and will not lose their relevance as long as there are adherents of religion in the world.
However, religious tourism is not limited to pilgrimage tours. There is another type of travel, which will be equally interesting for atheists and representatives of other confessions other than Orthodox Christianity. This is a religious tourism with an excursion and educational focus.
Monasteries and churches, holy places not only perform a sacred mystical function, but are also architectural monuments, have a certain historical value, i.e. associated with rather significant events in the history of not only Greece, but the whole world. Thus, they can be interesting to people, even if we discard their personal religious beliefs or lack thereof. Trips of this type can also attract doubters who want to get to know each religion better.
Depending on the aspirations of the religious traveler, the target audience may include different people. For cognitive and familiarization excursion religious tours, these are, first of all, seekers, thinking people, connoisseurs of history, architecture, art. Also, it can be married couples who wished to introduce children to history, help them in the study of architectural features, etc.
Participants of pilgrimage tours are people who profess the same doctrine as the host country. Due to the fact that Orthodox Christianity is a fairly widespread religion, the number of people potentially ready to make a trip of this kind is quite large. Currently, there are 15 autocephalous Orthodox churches in the world. On average, the total number of people professing Orthodoxy is about 182 million.
A poll conducted in Russia at the turn of 2007-2008 showed that approximately 66-67% of citizens consider themselves Orthodox Christians. For other countries, the figures are as follows: Ukraine - 30 million, Serbia and Montenegro - 7 million, Romania - 20 million, Belarus - 5 million, Bulgaria - 6 million, Great Britain - 400,000, Moldova - 3 million, USA - 7 million , France - 260,000, Italy - 36,000, Switzerland - 70,000.
A detailed list of required documents for a business visa to Greece
Original or printed copy (scan or fax) of the invitation from the inviting company from Greece.
An invitation from an organization registered in another country (not in Greece) is not a basis for issuing you a business visa to Greece.
An invitation can be drawn up in English or Greek, with the obligatory indication of such data as:
The invitation must be issued on the official letterhead of the inviting organization and certified by the signature of an authorized person. If the inviting company has a seal, ask to put it on your invitation.
Requirements for a passport for a visa to Greece:
The questionnaire can be filled out in English or in Latin letters.
IMPORTANT! The questionnaire must be signed with a pen in 4 places (example below).
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