Belarusian travel agencies are trying to restart bus tours to Europe. Perhaps, Russian tourists will also be able to enter the EU countries by this route: entry into Belarus is free for Russians, and earlier such budget bus tours from Minsk to Europe were also popular with us. The route is available for tourists who already have visas, or if they are received in Moscow at those embassies that already issue visas.
However, the visa issue is not simple for Belarusians either, experts representing the Republican Union of Tourist Organizations (RSTO) told local media. In theory, since May, Belarusians again have the opportunity to go by bus on combined tours around Europe, the message on the RSTO website says. – Travel became possible because Poland opened the borders for entry – without certificates, PCR tests and quarantines. However, everything depends on the visa problem. Several trips have already taken place on the Riga-Stockholm route, including a trip by ferry. But the Latvian visa center was closed very quickly, it became impossible to get a pass to Europe. At the same time, earlier 70-80% of the visas required for the Belarusian market were provided by the embassies of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Now these diplomatic missions do not issue tourist Schengen visas – Russians, of course, too.
“Against the background of the visa shortage, at the moment bus tours to Europe are formed largely depending on the following factor: we go to the place whose embassy issues visas for Belarusians for tourist trips – type C,” Belarusian experts described the situation. There is hope that by the beginning of the current summer season, tourists can go, in particular, to Italy: “Most companies, when scheduling Italian chains, take into account that the Italian embassy, which currently accredits companies, has promised quotas for organized tourists from June 1. Accordingly, the chains have been exhibited since the end of June – in order to have a reserve of time for opening visas, ”they say. True, there are certain issues with delivery.
“There is an opportunity”, according to the definition of the Belarusian side, and tours to Hungary. “According to the RSTO, the consular department of the embassy of this country in Minsk began work on March 9. In addition, the Hungarian Visa Application Center started operating in early spring. Accredited travel agencies have received quotas, but they are still insufficient to reliably load buses leaving from Minsk to Budapest at least once a week. Currently, firms have united in 3–4 pools and are trying to form joint groups. Several tours have already taken place, the groups continue to form,” the experts say. True, there are again route problems – roads through Poland, especially through Ukraine, are not a very tempting idea.
Greece was also named among the destinations, and not without Russian support. “Another direction that inspires optimism in excursion bus operators is Greece,” the RSTO noted, “since the Greece visa center in Minsk is operating as usual and the embassy in Moscow opens visas for Belarusians. But it opens multiple visas for clients of accredited travel agencies for specific tours,” the Belarusian experts said.
Recall that at the moment Russian tourists have the opportunity through the visa centers of three European countries – Italy, France and Spain.
The details are:
- Since March 1, the Italy Visa Application Center in Moscow has again opened its doors to Russians wishing to apply for a tourist visa. There are two Italian visa centers in Russia – VMS Italy and Almaviva. VMS operate in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, while Almaviva operates in Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, Samara and Kazan.
- It is easy to apply for a visa to Spain, but there is a nuance 95% of applicants receive their Schengen, but you need to come with a vaccination certificate, you can with a Russian one. It is also a mandatory requirement to have a Schengen visa for a year or more earlier when applying in any city.
- French visa centers also resumed accepting documents for all types of visas without restrictions last month. Many visas for a period of 5 years. Also often there are visas for six months in clean passports. But here are some pretty serious problems with applying for a visa.
For details, read the TURPROM material at the link.
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