Turkey-Greek islands resume ferry services after 2-year virus halt! Ferry services between Turkey and the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, which halted for two years due to COVID-19 measures, are starting again, according to sectoral officials. The first voyage from Marina Teos of Seferihisar-Izmir to the port of Karlovasi of Samos will take place on April 23rd.The services stopped two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with tourism between the two countries coming to a halt. The restriction also applied to private yachts sailing between Turkey’s Aegean coasts and the Greek islands. Yusuf Öztürk, the chairperson of the Chamber of Shipping in the western Turkish province of Izmir, said in a statement that with the resumption of ferry services, sea tourism will revive after almost coming to a complete halt in the region. “The resumption of ferry services between Turkey and Greek islands in the Aegean Sea is expected to give a significant boost to tourism activity in the region”, he said. The ban on ferry services, which were halted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was lifted on Feb. 7-2022. The restriction also applied to private yachts sailing between Turkey’s Aegean coasts and the Greek islands. “Ferries used to carry nearly 1.5 million people each year on the routes, such as Ayvalık-Lesbos, Çeşme-Khios and Marmaris-Rhodes. With the resumption of those voyages, tourism activity will revive again,” said Yusuf Öztürk. Before the restrictions, approximately 1 million passengers were transported annually by mutual ferry services between the touristic towns with customs gates in Turkey’s western Izmir, Muğla and Balıkesir provinces and the Greek islands. Now, ferries with up to 49 passengers on board can enter 14 Greek ports, including Kavala, Rhodes, Lesbos, Samos, Limnos, Patmos and Kastellorizo. “Ferry services greatly contribute to the local economy and tourism activity, but they came to nearly a complete halt after the pandemic”, Öztürk noted. “For the time being, ferries are allowed to carry only 49 passengers, but those vessels will gradually be able to serve more passengers, he said, noting that travelers need to provide the results of PCR tests taken within 72 hours and antibody tests”. Ferry services between Greece and Turkey will resume soon as both countries look to boost tourism activity in the region!