The number of travelers from Turkey to the neighboring North Aegean islands was on the decline in the first half of the year, down by 13,349 compared to the first six months of 2017, according to data released this week by the General Police Directorate of the North Aegean.
According to the data, some 23,449 outbound travelers from Turkey visited Chios in the first half of the year against 30,261 in 2017.
Lesvos welcomed 9,432 visitors in the first six months of 2018 compared to 13,616 last year, while 4,842 traveled from Lesvos to Ayvalik, down from 6,169 in 2017.
Samos, meanwhile, saw 11,542 visitors in the first half of 2018, down from 13,805 in 2017.
Travel agents and tour operators are attributing the fall-off to strained Greek-Turkish ties as well as to Turkey’s relations with the EU, which led to shorter-term visas issued, down to seven days from 15, and to the overall negative climate in the neighbouring country. The exchange rate of the Turkish lira against the euro also appears to be an inhibiting factor.