Rhodes fires: Free holiday for evacuated tourists, Greek PM says
Those who fled the recent wildfires on Rhodes will receive a free one-week holiday there, according to the Greek prime minister.
The offer can be taken up in the spring or autumn of 2024, according to Kyriakos Mitsotakis on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
The free week could not be claimed, or how the scheme would work, according to him.
In July, wildfires forced more than 20,000 people to evacuate.
There was a flight home for thousands of UK holidaymakers.
According to Mitsotakis, “there was no loss of life in Rhodes and no injuries reported. We apologize for the inconvenience caused, but Rhodes is now more welcoming than ever.
Rhodes residents are also known for their hospitality and “support” of stranded tourists, and he encouraged holidaymakers to consider Rhodes as a last-minute destination.
In response to wildfires, he maintained that Greece was “absolutely safe” from such incidents.
While wildfires have always affected the Mediterranean, their intensity has increased “as a consequence of climate change”, Mitsotakis acknowledged.
Due to a prolonged and intense heatwave, Rhodes was forced to battle wildfires fanned by strong winds in July. Repatriation flights were needed for many British tourists to return home after cutting short their holidays.
According to an EasyJet pilot, getting off the plane before takeoff is a “bad idea” when flying British tourists to Rhodes.
It advised people to check with their hotel and travel operator before travelling to the affected Greek islands and to sign up for emergency alerts, instead of formally advising them not to go.
Several Greeks took to social media to express their frustration with Mr Mitsotakis’ initiative. According to a user of X, formerly known as Twitter, “Greeks may not get to go on vacation, but they will pay for foreigners’ vacations.”
There was not a single paid hotel day for the locals, Greeks and immigrants, who lost their homes and slept on the ruins all over Greece.”
The wretchedness of compensating tourists without funding the protection of dwindling flora and fauna goes beyond all comprehension.
Following last week’s devastating wildfires, there is growing frustration at the Greek government’s perceived inaction.
As hundreds of Rhodes residents gathered in front of Rhodes town hall on Tuesday night, they demanded compensation for livestock breeders and farmers, safeguards for workers, businesses and homeowners who lost their jobs and properties, and immediate reforestation of burned areas.
“Mr Mitsotakis thinks that by promising a week’s free holiday, he will heal the blow suffered by the image of Greek tourism by healing the blow suffered by the image of Greek tourism,” said a Syriza spokesman.
A serious prevention and treatment plan is needed, which the government does not appear to have.
As a result of global warming, the demand for southern Europe is expected to decrease according to a report released by the European Commission.
Greek tourism contributes more than 20% to the country’s GDP, while Rhodes is a top-100 tourist destination worldwide.