Russia has decided to resume bilateral international air service with Greece, starting February 8.
The decision was announced during the visit of the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, in Athens.
“It is an open secret that the Greek tourist sector has been hit hard. The relationship between our countries also relies on this element of contacts between people, of course. We intend to increase focus on development of tourism, the more so because a year of tourism between Russia and Greece was successfully held two years ago” Deputy Minister said.
The average number of Russian tourists visiting Greece increaded to 750,000 annualy, reaching a peak fo 1.3 mln in 2019. In 2020, the number dropped to just 25,000 tourists.
In September 2020, Greece announced it would allow just 500 Russian visitors per week to enter the country, through checkpoints at the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. Russia visitors need a negative PCR test, made no earlier than 72 hours before the trip. The decision still stands. Air traffic between Greece and Russia had been suspended.
A. Grushko visited Greece in the context of the annual Moscow-Athens political consultations.
In his meeting with the Greek Minister of Defence, Nikos Dendias, further cooperation between Russia and Greece in the energy and agriculture sector was discussed. The two countries explore the potential of synergies in the fields of high technologies, transport and communications.
“There is awareness that it is necessary to convene an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation and launch working groups as soon as possible to propel economic cooperation. We assume that if those instruments function well we will manage to make meaningful headway towards deepening of economic cooperation based on the ties that have been developed over the past years” Grushko noted
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the N. Dendias in Athens, in October, 2020. The ministers signed a memorandum on holding the Year of History of Russia and Greece in 2021.