Press "Enter" to skip to content

Fast-track visa for Turkish tourists to 10 Greek islands due in March

A visa facilitation scheme that would allow Turkish citizens to visit 10 Greek islands, announced late last year during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Athens, is due to commence as of next month, the Greek authorities said earlier.

The scheme would permit Turkish citizens to visit 10 Greek islands – including Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, Symi and Kastelorizo – for up to seven days throughout the year, by having a special type of visa issued by the Greek police upon their arrival, after their data is checked on the Schengen visa and Europol databases, instead of going through a cumbersome regular visa application process.

The fast-track visa process, initially announced by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after the historic meeting with Erdoğan last December, will facilitate Turks’ access to the islands, all near the Turkish coast, and is considered as one of the signs of the ongoing good spirit in bilateral relations between neighboring countries.

Mitsotakis announced on state television ERT in January that the visa facilitation program would begin in March.

“I believe that 10 islands will benefit from this agreement throughout the entire spring and summer, and I believe that this agreement will be permanent,” he noted.

Greek business owners are also optimistic that a surge in Turkish visitors will fill the void left by the decrease in Israeli tourists, a recent report by multilingual broadcasting network Euronews indicated.

Symi Island Mayor Lefteris Papakalodoukas praised the initiative, highlighting the strong ties in tourism and culture between Greece and Türkiye. He noted Symi’s popularity among Turkish yachters, with the island seeing significantly higher boat arrivals compared to others like Rhodes.

Previously, Turkish visitors faced a lengthy visa process via the Greek Consulate in Izmir. The new fast-track system simplifies entry, with thousands already showing interest.

Giannis Papavasileiou, the president of the Hotel Owners Association, stated that the influx of visitors from Türkiye is expected to increase, compensating for the shortfall caused by the lack of Israeli tourists, and ultimately benefiting the local economy.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), shortly after Erdoğan’s Athens visit, Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Dimitris Kairidis noted that the visa facilitation scheme would contribute to the improvement of the intersocietal ties.

“This is truly a win-win solution for both countries,” he said at the time, explaining that Greece for some time sought to attract more Turkish visitors.

More from BusinessMore posts in Business »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *