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Greece introduces fast-track visa for Turkish tourists to 10 Greek islands

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FILE PHOTO Copyright Thanassis Stavrakis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Thanassis Stavrakis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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Greek business owners are optimistic that a surge in Turkish visitors will fill the void left by the decrease in Israeli tourists.

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Travelers from Turkey will be able to visit 10 Greek islands with a fast-track temporary visa, announced Greek Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis after his historic meeting last December with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The on-the-spot, seven-day visa will facilitate access to islands including Kalymnos, Limnos, Leros, Kos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes, Symi, and Kastelorizo, all near the Turkish coast and historically popular with Turkish visitors despite tense Greek-Turkish relations.

Symi Island Mayor, Lefteris Papakalodoukas, praised the initiative, highlighting the strong ties in tourism and culture between Greece and Turkey. 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 Turkey is expected to increase, compensating for the shortfall caused by the lack of Israeli tourists, and ultimately benefiting the local economy.

Locals push for the implementation as soon as possible, aiming to welcome more Turkish visitors starting this summer.

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