[IMG=21234-7075]Travel companies that specialize in the German market point out that the German Consulate has slightly decreased the visa application period. On October 16th the Consulate appointed November 17th to be the visa application day for many tour operators. ‘Before we had to “queue” to bring documents of our clients for around a month and a half’, said Svetlana Stroganova, Director of Euro-Expo.ru. The Consulate of Germany did not comment on its initiative, but travel market experts see the reasons in tourist flow reduction after Oktoberfest.
Meanwhile, the improvements did not refer to the visa issuing period. Even tour operators accredited in the Consulate get visas for their clients with delays. ‘Before we could expect visas to be issued for 304 days, while now it takes the Consulate a week to issue visas for accredited tour operators. We have to warn our VIP clients to apply for visa in advance’, summarized representatives of tour operating companies that have accreditation in the German Embassy.
Travel market experts are divided in opinion regarding the development of the situation. Some experts consider the reduction of the visa application period to be an encouraging tendency to be followed by further reduction of the visa issuing process. Others forecast that the situation will get worse again. Thus, Alexander Turchenko, Director of Chaika-tour, stated as follows: ‘The New Year period will add to the increase of both visa application and visa issuing periods’, Boris Blinov, General Director of Altus-tour operator, added: ‘unfortunately, it is not time to ‘relax’. The closer the New Year the higher the tourist flow’.
Furthermore, travel market players explain the delays in Consulates by too high Russian tourist flow abroad in the recent years. Therefore, other European Consulates might start working in a ‘slower’ regime. At the moment the information is not officially confirmed. However, the Austrian Consulate has informed tour operators about the start of issuing visas for the New Year dates and the beginning of January.
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