An event was organized today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the leadership of SETE, with the participation of institution relative with tourism. The aim of the event was to present statistic data and methods to increase tourism. The event attended the heads of the Greek consulate of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kazakhstan. The latest data of 2013 showed that the Greek Consular Authorities issued a total of 1,470,000 visas, compared with 1,000,000 visas in 2012 and 790,000 in 2011, recording an increase of 46 %. At the same time Greece is the fastest country in the time of issue of the visa in the Schengen zone (48 hours later).

The three Greek consulates and 18 visa centers of Russia issued 70 % of all Greek visas around the world, with 1,033,000 visas in 2013 and an increase of 51 % over 2012. In Ukraine, the three Consulates of Greece in Kiev, Odessa and Mariupol assisted by the 3 visa centers issued a total of 202,000 visas in 2013, recording an increase of 57 % over 2012. In Turkey, the four Consulates of Greece in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Edirne with the help of 6 visa centers, issued 130,000 visas in 2013, with an increase of 41 % over 2012.

The past year was the second year that the pilot program of visa issue at ports of selected islands in the eastern Aegean operated successfully, and the program joined two other islands (Simi and Kastelorizo). The local economies of seven Greek islands were benefited by granting 18.610 2013 visas. In addition, an effort is made to add other islands in the program. Note that the total Greek tourism set a new record in 2013 to 17.8 million foreign tourists.

As announced today, in late February the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to give the Consulates instructions for even more efficient operation. At the same target moves the attempt of General Secretary of International Economic Relations of the MFA, Panagiotis Michalos, for the expansion of air connections in the country, through bilateral agreements with target countries, such as Russia.