Turkey, Ukraine lift passport requirement in visits to boost tourism
REUTERS photoForeign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Feb. 10 announced that Turkey and Ukraine had reached a deal allowing the citizens of the both countries to travel between each only with ID cards, without passports.
During his visit to Kyiv, Çavuşoğlu said the agreement had been struck between the two countries, whose citizens would now enjoy passport-free travel aimed at boosting reciprocal visits and increasing tourist numbers.
“We want to increase the number of reciprocal visits and the number of tourists. We want to have more contact between our people. Therefore we have completed the preparations for our citizens to travel without needing passports, only using their ID cards. We will accomplish this before the summer begins,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu noted that the number of tourists from Ukraine had increased by 50 percent last year, adding that Turkey was pleased to host more than a million Ukrainians.
“I owe thanks to our friend Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Last year, the number of tourists visiting [Turkey] increased by 50 percent. We felt happy to host around 1.25 million Ukrainians in our country,” he said.
Early in summer 2016, Ukrainian tourism sector representatives said the number of Ukrainian tourists visiting Turkey may hit 1 million if tour operators do not raise tour package prices in the high season.
“The Ukrainian people are not paid very high these days. After the economic crisis, wages regressed to around $200 on average. So hikes in tour package prices should be avoided in July and August to keep them coming to Turkey. Over 749,000 Ukrainians visited Turkey last year. This may increase up to 1 million this year if tour package prices are not hiked,” said Association of Tourism Business Leaders of Ukraine (ALTU) head Aleksandr Novikovsky in June 2016.
Çavuşoğlu visited Kyiv to attend the fifth meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Group, where both he and his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues. The group functions under the High Level Strategic Council formed between the two countries.
His visit also coincides with the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Ukraine.
Çavuşoğlu said a High Level Strategic Council meeting will be held in Ukraine in 2017.