BUSINESS

Turkish visitor numbers soar

YIANNIS ELAFROS

TAGS: Tourism

Tourists from Turkey have been arriving on Greek islands in record numbers this summer, giving the local economy a welcome boost.

According to the latest data, total arrivals from Turkey on the eastern Aegean islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos in the first six months of the year were up 50 percent compared to the same period last year – 28,000 in Chios, 13,624 in Lesvos and 13,558 in Samos.

Tellingly, in June alone, 10,000 Turks traveled to Chios – up 53 percent compared to the same month in 2016. June was also a record-breaking month on Lesvos, which welcomed 6,315 visitors from Turkey – a 214 percent increase compared to last year. Samos also recorded a 217 percent increase with 7,000 Turkish tourists.

“Tourists from Turkey are usually families. They come for three days and live it up. They aren’t stingy. They spend a lot, up to 200-250 euros per person a day, because they eat out and go shopping,” said Aris Lazaris, a travel agent in Mytilene.

Their only complaint, Lazaris told Kathimerini, is that their visas are only for three days. If this changes, he said, then “the presence of Turkish tourists in Greece will be impressive.”

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