According to sector officials, the ferry service that runs between the islands of Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea has finally resumed service after being out of action for two years due to the safety measures put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chairperson of Chamber Shipping in Izmir, the western Turkish province, Yusuf Ozturk issued a statement confirming that with the return of the ferry services, there should be a revival in sea tourism which came to a complete standstill in the region when the pandemic first hit.
All of the restrictions were lifted in Athens on the sea border gates on February 7, which allowed the ferries and yacht voyages to begin again. Those wishing to travel on the maritime transport services must follow health requirements as well as virus measures which will be announced shortly.
At the ninth Turkey-Greece Tourism Forum and the fourth Tourism Joint Meeting in Izmir, Ozturk noted that the primary demand for the sector was to get the ferry services resumed as soon as possible. Other participants included Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and Vasilis Kikilias, his Greek counterpart.
Members of the industry have faced challenges during the past two years and now have the result that they have so longed for. Ozturk carried on by saying: “Particularly, the tradespeople on the Greek Islands are looking forward to the Turkish tourists,” continuing to say that both countries will benefit greatly from the returning sea route.
He said: “The decision to start sailing of our ferries, commercial and private yachts at a time when cruise tourism is also active in the Mediterranean will create a great revival in marine tourism in the 2022 tourism season.”
The reciprocal ferry services between the two countries have been out of commission since March 2020. Prior to the COVID-19 measures, approximately one million passengers a year were transported by the joint ferry services to visit touristic towns that have customs gates within the Greek Islands as well as Balikesir, Mugla and Izmir provinces.
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