Catamarans owned by the ferry company of Turkey’s İzmir Metropolitan Municipality will start regular trips between the Alsancak Port and the Greek island of Lesbos in a bid to boost tourism in the Aegean Sea, Northern Aegean Islands Economic Development Agency (EOAEN) head Thrasos Kalogridis has said.
Both sides have been working to increase the number of ferry tours between the Aegean costs of Turkey and Greece to further improve bilateral ties, Kalogridis said.
In a bid to connect Lesbos and İzmir, which has a population of over 4 million, catamarans owned by the İzdeniz company will start tours next May.
The connection between Turkey’s Aegean coast and Lesbos is currently provided by ferries, mainly via the district of Ayvalık in the Aegean province of Balıkesir.
“It is a significant target for Lesbos to connect directly with İzmir … We met with İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu to realize this target and we decided to start İzdeniz catamaran tours between these two destinations catamarans. Two catamarans are currently under construction and will be submitted in April 2017. The tours will then start. The first tour will likely start on May 17, 2017,” said Kalogridis.
With the launch of these tours, it is hoped that the number of Turkish tourists visiting Lesbos will rise by 30 percent.
The Greek islands are already among the most popular summer destinations for many Turks, with around 400,000 Turkish citizens visiting the Greek islands annually. Ferry tours are currently made from Ayvalık to Lesbos, from the İzmir district of Çeşme to the Greek island of Chios, from Turkish districts of Kuşadası and Seferihisar to Samos, from Bodrum to Kos, and from Marmaris to Rhodes.