Greece may become most popular destination for Russian tourists this year — official
Greece may become the most popular foreign destination of Russian tourists this year, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Oleg Safonov said on Wednesday. He was speaking at the Russian-Greek tourist forum. "It is difficult to forecast, but judging by the trends we see, I suppose, that Greece will be the country which is most visited by Russian tourists in 2016. In May, Greece is the leader in terms of bookings and sales of summer tours," Safonov said. Earlier, the market players regraded Egypt as the most popular foreign destination among Russians. Currently the flights to Egypt from Russia are banned for safety reasons. The head of the Federal Agency for Tourism said that the number of tourist visits to Greece from Russia will increase significantly and reach 1 million people. Safonov said that 2013 was the most successful year for Greece in terms of visits of Russian tourists. Back then 1.2 million Russian tourists visited that country, he said. In 2014-2015, the number of Russian tourists to Greece dropped, he said. Safonov stressed that Greece is not just about a beach holiday, but it is also historical and cultural tourism, health tourism, family tours. He hopes that Greece will expand the range of offerings for Russian tourists as well as the geography of recreation. Earlier, in an interview with TASS Safonov predicted an increase in tourist flow from Russia to Greece by 20% this season. The incident with the failure of issuance of visas to Russians before May holidays should not affect the demand for trips to Greece and the problem itself will soon be solved, he said. In late April, the Greek Consulate in Moscow was unable to cope with the number of documents submitted by Russians intending to travel in time for the May holidays to Greece.