[IMG=20566-6314]The current situation in the French Embassy in Moscow provoked sales slowdown for tours to France that became evident even for incoming companies in France. Thus, Michel Tschann, General Manager of Hotel Splendid Nice, sent an e-mail to BANKO office saying: ‘owing the delays in the Embassy France loses million Euros in revenue. Being a president of Hotel Association of Cote d'azur and Biarritz I asked French authorities to take measures in order to solve the current problem. We can not blame the Consulate in Moscow – they do not have enough staff. I am afraid that with the introduction of biometrical visas the situation will hardly improve’.
Meanwhile, Ludmila Tikhonenkova, Vice-President of Lanta-tour voyage, said: ‘we can not make the Consulate work. But the current situation seriously affects tourist flow to France. We have to reduce volumes in order to escape losses, while France is losing good clients. Even letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and petition of Russian Union of Travel Industry did not contribute into resolution of the problem. On the contrary, now documents are processed for a longer period, copies of tickets and financial support documents – sponsorship letters or documents from a bank - are more frequently required in case an employee earnings certificate specifies a monthly salary 5, 000 – 7,000 rubles’.
Furthermore, Ekaterina Ivanova, the Head of the French Department of Tour Bureau Moscow, agreed: ‘the situation is very problematic now. Before we could organize a tour to France during for days and our clients got acquainted to such tempo. However, it is impossible now’.
Michel Tschann believes there are two ways to solve the problem: to issue multi visas for Russian citizens who already were in France, and to be more flexible towards citizens of Russian cities where there is no French Consulate (in particular, Novosibirsk and Irkutsk) – tourists could apply for visas to another European Consulate.
Russian tour operators also have ‘rationalization’ ideas: to issue either multi visas or visas with one-month extension. Besides, some rules for visa applications could be abolished, for example, booking confirmation from an incoming company.
At the moment the problem is solved as follows: ‘it is sad but we have to attract our clients to other destinations – Italy, Austria, Greece, Croatia, and Bulgaria’, said Ludmila Tikhonenkova.
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