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Greeks from Lesbos visit Turkey’s Ayvalık for weekly shopping |

Greeks from Lesbos visit Turkey’s Ayvalık for weekly shopping

Greek nationals living on the island of Lesbos travel to the district bazaar in the Turkish city of Ayvalık, a tourism hub located in Turkey’s North Aegean region, where they purchase items suitable for their daily needs including clothing, kitchen utensils and food.

A large number of Greek tourists travel to Ayvalık by ferry on Thursdays, departing from the island of Lesbos between 9:00 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. and making their return journey between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m, using the same mode of transportation.

President of Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce Benhan İbrahim Kantarcı said that some 87,000 Greek tourists came to the Turkish province for day-long trips in 2015 while adding that numbers plummeted to 64,000 last year due to economic troubles in Greece.

This year, however, an estimated 100,000 Greek tourists are expected to visit Ayvalık for daily shopping, Kantarcı said.

Referring to the significant contribution of Greek tourists to the province’s economy, Kantarcı said the economic crisis in Greece has made Ayvalık a more attractive destination for the islanders.

Meanwhile, Ayvalık Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen President Melih Çakırca said the busiest day for shoppers coming from the island of Lesbos is Thursdays, when they typically purchase goods such as clothing, cosmetics, accessories and food.

Emphasizing that the Greeks also shop for other items ranging from construction materials to furniture, Çakırca said, “The high value of the euro in Turkey coupled with the economic crisis in Greece are the two main reasons behind this great influx of one-day tourists. Some 1,000 to 1,500 Greeks come to Ayvalık from Lesbos, especially on Thursdays. Even if they only buy a bottle of water and some snacks, they have contributed to the province’s economy.”

Çakırca claimed that the volume of tourists literally works as the lifeblood for the city considering the economic stagnation that Ayvalık experiences in the winter months.

Aleksandra Dimitris, a Greek tourist, said he bought a carpet for 15 euros in Turkey and emphasized that a similar product would be impossible to get at such an affordable price in Greece. The average Greek tourist spends 150-200 euros in the Ayvalık district bazaar on Thursdays.

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