The number of Turkish tourists visiting many eastern Aegean increased tenfold compared to a year ago, following the implementation by the Greek government of a seven-day express visa for Turkish nationals.

It is estimated that more than 20,000 Turkish tourists flocked to the Greek islands for holidays during the nine-day Eid al-Fitr religious holiday, after the end of fasting by Muslims.

Rhodes emerged as one of the most popular destinations for Turkish holiday-makers after the process was inaugurated on March 31, along with Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kos, and is expected to expand to several other Greek islands by the end of the month. In comparison, in early April last year about 5,969 Turk citizens visited the five former Greek islands.

Specifically, during the first 10 days of April alone this year, 3,800 Turkish travelers visited Lesvos, up from just 390 a year ago, while the number of Turks visiting Chios (Hios) increased from 2,716 to 4,993.

Almost 6,000 Turkish holidaymakers traveled to Rhodes during the religious holiday, up from 2,320 a year earlier. Samos and Kos welcomed 2,851 and 3,300 Turkish tourists, respectively.

More than 6,000 Turkish visitors traveled from Marmaris and Fethiye in the western Mugla province to Rhodes for the holiday, a clear result of the introduction of the express visa services upon arrival on Greek islands.

According to Turkish travel agents, the number of Turkish visitors to the islands during the holiday exceeded 20,000, including over 6,000 to Rhodes, 4,000 to Kos, 3,000 to Samos, 3,000 to Chios, 5,000 to Lesvos, and 1,000 to Kastellorizo from Fethiye, Marmaris and Kas, in terms of the last far-off Greek isle.

Interest from Turkish tourists for travel to the Greek islands is projected to continue during the summer season and during an upcoming Turkish national holiday on April 23, according to tourism experts in the neighboring country.