Starting from January Austrian visas can be issued in St. Petersburg following the opening of Austrian Department in the Finnish Embassy in St. Petersburg. Arnold Rish, Vice-President of the company Tourism Council said: ‘the Finnish Embassy being one of the most democratic ones initiated such an option for St. Petersburg tour operating companies’. However, tour operators do not rush to take an advantage of it continuing to follow the old scheme processing documents through the Austrian Embassy in Moscow’.
According to a representative of the Austrian Department of Academy Travel Company, such situation is influenced by lack of charters to Austrian skiing resorts from St. Petersburg. Therefore tours are booked well in advance which provides time for visa issuing. Meanwhile, Irida Travel Company pointed out that in the Finnish Embassy presence of a tourist is obligatory therefore tourists prefer tour-operating companies to deal with visa issues.