Greece Eyes March 30th Launch for Turkish Tourist Visa Program

Rhodes Old Town

Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis expressed optimism about the launch of a fast-track visa program for Turkish tourists on five eastern Aegean islands by March 30th, 2024.

This news follows a parliamentary inquiry by PASOK deputy Giorgos Nikitiadis, who questioned the program's delay. Nikitiadis, representing the Dodecanese islands, highlighted a previous postponement from the initial February 1st launch date to March 1st.

Pilot Phase Paves the Way for Full Implementation:

Gerapetritis assured Nikitiadis that the program's full rollout would follow a successful pilot phase. He attributed the initial delay to the program's intricate nature, requiring coordinated efforts from various government ministries.

Program Details:

  • Scope: The program targets at least ten islands, with the initial phase focusing on five in the eastern Aegean Sea.
  • EU Approval: The European Commission has already greenlit the initiative.
  • Visa Issuance: Dedicated customs posts on participating islands will issue visas upon arrival after collecting biometric data (fingerprints).
  • Unilateral Initiative: Gerapetritis clarified that the program solely originates from Greece and is not part of any agreement with the Turkish government.

Limited Expansion Potential:

While acknowledging requests from other islands for inclusion, Gerapetritis cautioned that the program's exceptional nature within the Schengen agreement restricts its reach.

Looking Ahead:

The anticipated launch of the express visa program signifies Greece's efforts to boost tourism from neighbouring Turkey. The pilot phase on five Aegean islands will be crucial in determining the program's effectiveness and potential for further expansion.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024