Austrian Authorities Will Solve The Visa Problem

Austrian Authorities Will Solve The Visa Problem

02.03.2006, 19:50
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Austrian Authorities Will Solve The Visa Problem
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   The other day President of the Russian Tourism Union, Sergey Shpilko, received an official reply from the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Russian Federation to his letter as of January 31st where Shpilko asked for contribution of the Austrian Chancellor into the resolution of the current visa problem caused by the adoption of new rules for visa applications by the Austrian Embassy in Moscow (news/ 23.01, 26.01, 31.01, 2.02, 8.02). The letter says that the subject was discussed at the meeting of Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, with Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schlussel, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ursula Plassnik, on February 14th –15th in Vienna. At the meeting Schlussel said he would find an optimal solution to the problem, as Russian tourists are important for Austria. On the other hand, General Chancellor of Austria in Russia, Michael Pal pointed out that at the moment Austrian authorities are negotiating the possibility to send invitation letters singed by representatives of Austrian incoming companies by e-mail. According to experts, a special computer system is planned to be introduced in order to speed up the procedure.
   Furthermore, the Heads of Austrian regions where the most popular resorts are situated joined forces with Russian officials in their battle against the new bureaucracy. At first they did not understand the significance of the problem but than having realized the implications of the changes – drop in demand for Austria – they had nothing but to take action. Gerhard Leskovar, Marketing Manager for CEE and Asia of Salzburgenland Region Tourist Board, said in the interview to a BANKO correspondent: ‘it is a serious problem for us. Therefore, our Governor claimed officially to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vienna’.
    Meanwhile, according to Russian travel market players, it is planned to introduce the practice of last year when the Austrian Embassy in Moscow accepted invitation letters sent by e-mail with the only ‘innovation’ is the system, which guarantees a signature originality. Three –day shorter period of visa issuing is important for Russian travel market but travel companies are still concerned about the ceiling for the number of applications the Embassy processes each week – 400 applications. ‘At the end of the season we can easily adapt to the limit. However if the situation doesn’t change until October 2006 it will turn out to be a catastrophe’, said Maxim Pristavko, Commercial Director of Jet Travel.

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