Eastern Macedonia and Thrace regional authorities and tourism professionals are up in arms over unreasonably long delays by the consulate to issue visas to Turkish nationals wishing to visit Greece.
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Prefect Giorgos Pavlidis recently stated that thousands of tourists are being turned away due to the time-consuming procedure, which is leading to a loss in revenue and business.
The consulate reassured that it would solve the problem but has failed to take any action citing technical difficulties and lack of staff to meet the demand.
In the meantime, Mr Pavlidis said that Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura has been aware of the issue for over a month, and called on Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to personally intervene to resolve the problem.
“There are solutions. We are in need of revenues. Some fail to understand. We have an obligation to do away with red tape and not hide behind it to the detriment of the country. We urge all those responsible to solve the problem right now,” he said.
On the same subject, Symi Mayor Lefteris Papakalodoukas recently told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet that the island’s “best customers” are Turkish tourists.
“The only foreigners not afraid of what is happening in Greece at the moment are Turkish citizens”, says Mayor Papakalodoukas said.
According to the mayor, Greece could be welcoming some 10 million Turkish tourists per year if there was a relaxation of visa requirements for them.
Symi Island is located a few miles off the coast of Datca in the Turkish Province of Mugla.