Turkish Tourists’ Rhodes, Greece Dreams Shattered; 650 Applications Received For 300 Quota, Many Denied Entry

Turkish tourists face visa quota nightmare.

by Deeplata Garde
Turkish Tourists’ Rhodes, Greece Dreams Shattered; 650 Applications Received For 300 Quota, Many Denied Entry

A recent holiday turned into a bureaucratic nightmare for Turkish tourists hoping to explore the picturesque Greek island of Rhodes. Greece’s newly launched fast-track visa initiative was clearly aimed at easing travel to select islands. But it became the culprit behind the stranded holiday plans of many Turkish Tourists. Despite the convenience promised by the visa-on-arrival procedure, many Turkish travellers found themselves turned away upon arrival at Rhodes due to an overstretched visa quota.

Overcrowding and Agency Mismanagement Turns Nightmare For Turkish Tourists

Tourist Visa
Picture credit- Canva

According to reports, the holiday rush during Eid al-Adha prompted an influx of Turkish tourists to Rhodes. It particularly focused on tourists from Marmaris and Bodrum. However, the local authorities on Rhodes faced a predicament as the number of visa applications surged to 650. Clearly it exceeded the island’s quota limit of 300. This disparity led to chaotic scenes at the port, where frustrated travellers were unable to proceed with their holiday plans.

Aris Lazaris, the visa officer for Lesbos, highlighted that the issue was unique to Rhodes and attributed it to the mismanagement by Turkish travel agencies. He explained how agencies have attempted to exceed the visa quota independently. This has caused a logistical nightmare for local police and customs officials who couldn’t process such a high volume of tourists.

Diplomatic Efforts and Resolution

Greece
Image Credits: Canva Stock Images

In response to the crisis, Turkish authorities lodged formal complaints through diplomatic channels. They are trying to seek immediate resolution with their Greek counterparts. The Turkish Embassy in Athens intervened swiftly, negotiating arrangements for the 300 stranded tourists to gain entry to Rhodes on June 18, thereby salvaging their holiday aspirations.

Engin Ceylan, a representative from the Turkish tourism sector, voiced concerns over the Greek authorities’ readiness to handle the surge in holidaymakers. He emphasised the need for better coordination and preparation to prevent similar incidents in the future. He suggested that if Greece should grant long-term visas to avoid such instances during peak holiday seasons.

Despite the setback, both Turkish and Greek officials are working towards enhancing cooperation. This will ensure smoother travel experiences for tourists in future. The incident serves as a cautionary tale for the importance of effective communication and coordination between tourism agencies and governmental bodies to manage tourist flows efficiently.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva Stock Images

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