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Greece Emerges as Top Destination for Kosovar Travelers Amid Visa-Free Period

In the wake of the three-month period of visa-free travel, Greece has emerged as the favoured destination for Kosovar nationals, surpassing the €1 million mark in weekend expenditures, as per findings from a study conducted by the Alliance of Kosovo Businesses.


Greece Emerges as Top Destination for Kosovar Travelers Amid Visa-Free Period

The study delves into the travel patterns of Kosovars, revealing a trend toward revisiting traditional destinations reminiscent of the 1990s. Notably, Thessaloniki and other Greek locales have witnessed a notable uptick in visitor numbers, particularly following the commencement of visa liberalization in January. Weekend after weekend, an average of over 2,500 travellers make their way to Thessaloniki and other parts of Greece, collectively injecting over €1 million into the local economy through spending on various amenities, including consumption, car insurance, and retail purchases.


Ruzhdi Kurtishaj, Chairperson of the Tourism Association at Kosovo Economic Chamber, had previously foreseen the burgeoning popularity of Thessaloniki, citing factors such as geographical proximity and affordability. Additionally, Kurtishaj pointed out a growing interest in other European destinations among Kosovar travellers, with cities like Budapest, Vienna, and Prague capturing attention. Looking ahead, Kurtishaj anticipates Sofia and Greek destinations will remain highly sought-after as the summer season approaches.


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Before the visa waiver agreement came into effect, a study highlighted the eagerness of Kosovars to explore the EU, with a staggering 80% expressing travel plans for 2024. This keen interest translated into a tangible surge in air traffic at Prishtina International Airport, which experienced a 22% increase in passenger numbers in January alone. The airport welcomed a total of 287,205 passengers during this period, reflecting a growing appetite for travel among Kosovars.


Valentina Gara, Head of PR at Limak International Kosovo Airport, attributed the spike in passenger traffic to the addition of several new destinations to the airport's roster, including Luxembourg, Riga, Heraklion, Halmstag, and Izmir.


The surge in travel enthusiasm is further evidenced by the heightened demand for passports, as reported by the Kosovo Interior Ministry. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a notable uptick in applications for essential travel documents, with nearly 39,000 passport applications submitted to the authorities as of January 3, 2024, according to data from the Civil Registration Agency.

By fLEXI tEAM

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