ECONOMY

New visa system may reduce tourism flow, hoteliers warn

new-visa-system-may-reduce-tourism-flow-hoteliers-warn

Greece may suffer 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 on Monday, 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 vital 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.