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Greek Ministers Call on EU to Extend Non-Schengen Visas to Cruise Travel

Extending in 2018 a visa regime that will apply to non-Schengen visitors traveling on cruise ships topped the agenda of an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday at the foreign ministry, on the request of Greece’s cruise sector unions.

Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis, his tourism counterpart Elena Kountoura and Deputy Foreign Minister George Katroulgalos met to discuss requesting the EU extend the visa scheme to include non-Schengen zone cruise travelers in view of the fact that in 2017 approximately 250,000 single-entry visas were issued generating 25 million euros in revenue.

“This meeting is being held at an early stage so that we can prepare to ask of the EU to extend for 2018 and for the whole year the visa scheme in order for Turkish nationals and visitors from other countries to come to Greece,” said Kouroublis.

On his part, Katrougalos added that cruise travel and tourist flows from Turkey contribute to the economic development of both islands and the Greek economy as a whole, stressing the need to be ready ahead of the next tourist season.

On a final note, Minister Kountoura pointed to the figures for the September-November period, noting that cruise travel will contribute greatly to the national strategy for extending the tourism season beyond the summer months. She added that tourist flows from neighboring Turkey have doubled this year.

In relevant news, according to the Athens News Agency, interest has been expressed for the launch of cruises to Croatia-Greece-Egypt and to Greece-Turkey-Russia.

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