Greek PM Announces Free Stay in 2024 for Evacuated Tourists: ‘Rhodes is Back!’
Greece offers free trips to tourists who have had their holidays cut short due to wildfires.
In July, parts of the island were damaged by fire for days, destroying homes and hotels. Thousands were forced to evacuate.
Officials said that 20,000 people, including thousands of tourists, fled the fires.
The Greek Prime Minister KyriakosMitsotakis acknowledged on Wednesday (2 August), ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the inconvenience caused by the fires to visitors.
“For all those whose holiday was cut short as a result of wildfires, the Greek government in cooperation with local authorities will offer one week of free holidays on Rhodes, next spring, the next fall, so that we make sure they come back to the island and enjoy its natural beauty,” he mentioned.
The deal is still not clear, nor are the details of flights included. However, it appears that the summer peak season will be excluded.
Mitsotakis said that while fires are not uncommon on Rhodes but their intensity is increasing due to climate change. He also praised Rhodes’ people for their “unbelievable” hospitality.
About 2.6 million tourists visited Rhodes in the past year. Tourism accounts for about a quarter (or more) of Greece’s gross domestic product.
Is it safe for me to travel to Rhodes in the summer?
Tourism officials and government officials have assured travellers that the island of South Aegean is ready to welcome their return.
In a Monday statement, the Greek Tourism Ministry stated that the life on the island was returning to normal.
“Rhodes is back! We are pleased to announce that the operational state of emergency has expired on the island of Rhodes,” it mentioned.
The Tourism Ministry added that Greek residents and the Greek State “look forward to continue to offer their care, unique hospitality and to foreign visitors”.
The Hotel Association of Rhodes announced that the island was now “fully functional, and welcoming thousands of tourists every day”. The hope is that all accommodation will be reopened soon.
A return of personal items for guests evacuated because of fires was also announced. The luggage will be returned at no cost if the hotel where they stayed is a member.
George Hatzimarkos, regional governor for the South Aegean region, said that Rhodes was returning stronger.
He said that “limited” restoration projects were underway and tourism was quickly returning to “business as usual”.
“We fully reassure our visitors that they can reliably enjoy the exceptional travel experiences and the authentic hospitality that beautiful Rhodes offers as a top-notch (sic) global tourism destination.”