The alterations include a change in the working schedule of the Consulate Section, which will now accept visa applications from 10 am until 12.30 pm instead of from 8.30 am until 10 am. The visa processing period has also been increased, and will take around a week.
Svetlana Stroganova, General Director of Eurotravel, said "previously it has always taken only a few days to get German visa. With these new rules travel agents have to get a separate receipt for each tourist when they pay the consular fees at the bank - that is obviously inconvenient and takes a lot of time. Last summer the German Consulate employed additional staff for the peak season, while this season they have not announced such a measure. We hope that the opening of the Visa Department in the German Consulate in Ekaterinburg will help the situation."
BANKO have discovered that although a Visa Department in Ekaterinburg is planned for the future, German Embassy Headquarters in Moscow still have not given any firm directive on this. The German Consulate in Moscow say only that their Visa Department in Ekaterinburg will not open in 2006.
Meanwhile, Aram Antonyan, Director of Bolero-Tour, stated that: "we are concerned about the high workload in the German Consulate. But we do not expect a big increase in tourist flow to Germany in summer, so I think the situation will be stable".
Antonyan continued "The World Cup has not stimulated the demand for the destination from Russian tourists to any great extent; it will increase this year only by 10-20 per cent."
Antonyan again continued "If Russia had managed to qualify for Germany then the demand may have risen a bit more. But sadly we lost 7-1 to Portugal.."