New visa sys­tem may re­duce tourism flow

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Greece may­suf­fer a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in tourism ar­rivals dur­ing the rest of this year and in 2016 from third coun­tries where ap­pli­cants for a Schen­gen visa need to pro­vide bio­met­ric data (fin­ger­prints) when submitting an ap­pli­ca­tion, the Hel­lenic Fed­er­a­tion of Hote­liers warned yes­ter­day, cit­ing es­ti­mates by tourism of­fi­cials and other pro­fes­sion­als in those mar­kets.

The stip­u­la­tion, which re­quires the pres­ence of each trav­eler for the sub­mis­sion of 10 fin­ger­prints, spe­cial pho­tos etc, is al­ready be­ing ap­plied in mar­kets with par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance for Greek tourism, such as Rus­sia, Ukraine and China. It will also start ap­ply­ing in other coun­tries, such as In­dia, in the next few weeks.

The hote­liers note that the first weeks of the new re­quire­ment have seen a ma­jor de­cline in visa ap­pli­ca­tions, and add that it is vi- tal for Greek con­sulates abroad to en­sure the best and fastest pos­si­ble ser­vice for trav­el­ers in the first stage of bio­met­rics sub­mis­sion – as the rest of the pro­ce­dure is han­dled by the Visa cen­ters.

Hote­liers also warn that the an­tic­i­pated in­crease in tourism in 2016 will add to Greek con­sulates’ work­loads, lead­ing to a great num­ber of pos­si­ble losses in ar­rivals.

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