Travel News

Greece free holidays: Brits who fled 2023 wildfires offered more than 25,000 trips

Simon Calder’s Travel

Up to 25,000 tourists who were evacuated from the Rhodes wildfires in 2023 could be eligible for a “free” holiday under a new compensation scheme from Greece’s government.

As of this week, thousands of mainly British holidaymakers are entitled to recompense as promised by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last year following the July blazes.

In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in August, Mitsotakis said: “Rhodes today is more welcoming than ever, the island is back to normal.

“The Greek government will offer one week of free holiday on Rhodes next spring or fall for all of those whose holiday was cut short due to the wildfires.”

Thedigital vouchers, redeemable directly from the Greek government, will cover a week’s hotel accommodation worth up to €500 (£428).

Rhodes declared a state of emergency on 20 July 2023 (Getty Images)

Myron Flouris, the Greek tourism ministry’s general secretary, told The Guardian that introducing the legislation has been a “very complicated process”, adding that Greece is “the first country in the world” to implement such a scheme.

There will be two phases for those affected to redeem the initiative, from now until 31 May and from 1 October to 15 November.

Tourism officials in Rhodes say that over 5,000 of the impacted travellers have so far registered on the compensation scheme for vouchers ranging between €300 and €500.

The actual compensation received will reflect the original amount paid by tourists to holiday providers, and those who booked private homestay accommodation, such as Airbnb, will not be eligible to claim a voucher.

Coastguard vessels, private boats and repatriation flights evacuated tourists from the Greek holiday island with several travellers forced to shelter in sports stadiums and airports as Rhodes went up in flames.

At an EU tourism forum held in Rhodes this week, European travel and tourism bodies signed a climate change declaration to prioritise sustainable tourism.

Mr Mitsotakis said the declaration was important to “highlight the most critical issue facing tourism today”.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…