This week, hope finally dawned on a relatively full season, and even on the fact that the applications of 2020, which seemed to be frozen, are still being implemented in the summer of 2021. Read about the most important events in the tourism industry of recent days in our material.
Greece will increase the number of entry permits for Russians
Many agents note problems with “stuck” applications in the European and, first of all, in the Greek direction. The fact is that niche tour operators simply could not rebook tourists to another country, since they did not work with it. Towards the end of March, optimism on this topic increased: Greece, which had previously promised to open its borders to all tourists from May 14, began to gradually remove restrictions even before that date.
Thus, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced that it would first increase the entry quota for Russians from 500 to 4 thousand per week. True, it is not yet known when exactly this will happen and whether the currently mandatory quarantine will be canceled for arriving Russians. Perhaps these issues will be resolved after the visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to Greece
Besides, Ambassador of Greece to Moscow Ekaterina Nassika confirmed that Greece is ready to issue Schengen visas to all Russians wishing to visit the country. To do this, they only need a certificate of a negative PCR test or for the presence of antibodies, or a confirmation of vaccination, translated into English. Thus, positive progress is evident, which means there is a hope that tourists, who have been waiting for a year for their rest among Greek taverns and olive groves, will finally get it.
Cyprus named the opening date for Russians
Meanwhile, the Cypriot authorities announced that they would open the borders to Russian tourists from April 1. That is, the first among all EU countries.
Nevertheless, Cypriots continue to adhere to strict rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus, ranked by their country’s “traffic light”: Russia from the gray zone (those who are prohibited from coming to Cyprus) are likely to move to the red (those who are allowed to come, but you need to check for the virus twice). That is, Russian tourists will have to register on the Cyprus FlightPass portal 24 hours before departure and pass two PCR tests: one – no later than 72 hours before departure, the second – an express test upon arrival. Its cost at Larnaca airport is 30 euros at Larnaca airport, and at Paphos airport – 32 euros. Then you won’t have to suffer in quarantine.
A representative of the Cypriot government has not yet clarified whether the conditions of entry for vaccinated tourists will be relaxed, especially in the case of certification of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the EU.
Production of Sputnik V may be launched in Europe
As for other EU countries, so far everything is not as positive as with Greece and Cyprus, but there are some positive signals. So, this week it became known that the European Union does not exclude the production of the Russian vaccine against the Sputnik V coronavirus in Europe. Probably, such a sharp change in mood in the EU was provoked by the scandal with the vaccine of the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, the side effects of which have already led to dramatic consequences.
Experts draw attention to the fact that in the issue of recognition of the effectiveness and establishment of production of “Sputnik V” in the EU, much depends on its certification by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). According to Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, the agency “must register the Russian vaccine against coronavirus in the EU as soon as possible,” provided it is safe. The head of the Austrian government assured that the country is ready to use the drug immediately after certification. But for now, of course, it is too early to count on the fact that, for example, Spain tomorrow will open its borders to Russian tourists, to put it mildly.
Travel business is concerned about new rules for entering Turkey
But in Turkey, oddly enough, the opposite trend: the new entry rules, which involve not only a negative PCR test, but also filling out an electronic questionnaire, can negatively affect the sales of tours in Antalya. Such concerns were expressed by representatives of tour operators at a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey at the MITT 2021 exhibition.
This especially affected the sales of tours with arrival dates before April 15, when the country will still require a negative PCR test and fill out an electronic questionnaire. Now tour operators have to go for serious discounts and special offers in order to load these volumes.
According to the participants in the meeting, there have already been cases when tourists were denied entry into the country due to the lack of a questionnaire. First of all, this concerned independent tourists who purchased tickets on aggregator sites, where there was no information about the new rules. But at the same time, travel agents who did it for their tourists also faced difficulties in filling out an electronic questionnaire.
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