Breakthrough Fast-Track Visa Initiative Strengthens Greek-Turkish Tourism Relations

Mavra Volia, Chios

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis unveiled the initiative during a joint press conference with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Athens last week, earning applause from Turkish tour operators.

Problems associated with acquiring a Schengen visa have posed obstacles for Turkish travelers, adversely impacting the operations of tour operators in Turkey.

The proposed fast-track visa is anticipated to yield positive effects on various sectors, including ferry services and tour organizers.

Forecasts suggest that the cost of the Schengen visa may reduce from the current 120 euros to approximately 50 to 60 euros, potentially resulting in a 100 percent surge in demand for Greek islands, as stated by Ali Onaran, the chair of Pronto Tour. However, he emphasized that official confirmation from authorities is pending, and detailed regulations are expected to be clarified within a month or two.

As demand for Greek island getaways rises, prices are anticipated to decrease, making vacations in the Greek Islands potentially more affordable than those in Turkey, according to Onaran.

Tolga Tekin from Jolly Tur celebrated the announcement, highlighting the immense challenges faced by Turkish holidaymakers in obtaining visas, particularly this year. The introduction of visa-on-arrival is deemed a game-changer, unlocking significant potential. He noted that Greek islands are likely to attract Turkish tourists, particularly due to rising hotel prices in Turkey.

Concerns have been raised about the potential impact on tourism in Turkish resorts. Ömer Faruk Dengiz, president of the Hoteliers' Association in Bodrum, a popular holiday resort, dismissed worries about losing vacationers to Greek islands. He emphasized that Bodrum offers affordable options to vacationers of all income levels and believes the fast-track visa will not significantly affect Bodrum's tourism.

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