Key figures of the Greek tourism sector on Saturday called for the country’s air traffic controllers to suspend announced strike action.
Greek air traffic controllers are to begin four 24-hour rolling strikes on Sunday in protest over new legislation regarding a restructuring of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. On Friday, airlines announced a series of flight cancellations.
Sector professionals are urging for all parties concerned to reach a solution in order to prevent “massive damage” to the Greek tourism industry that has already seen a very difficult season.
Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis is to meet with representatives of the air traffic controllers on Saturday afternoon in a last effort to find a solution to suspend the rolling strikes.
Tourism Ministry: A 4-day strike is not justified
In an announcement, the Tourism Ministry underlined that Greek tourism was being put at risk due to the four-day strike, which is not justified as the air traffic controllers have not made any specific requests.
“The Tourism Ministry is calling for the immediate suspension of the strike because it will hurt the excellent course of tourism in October, leave thousands of tourists stranded in our country, lead to mass flight cancellations and tourist arrivals, bring the tourism sector to a dead-end, affect the interests of professionals, put a damper on Greece’s reputation abroad and cause major damage to our national economy”, the ministry said.
SETE: The strike will hurt Greece’s reputation
The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) warned that the announced 24-hour rolling strikes will cause serious problems to the country’s tourism sector.
The confederation stressed that the strikes will cause a domino effect for the entire tourism sector, as hundreds of thousands of visitors will be left trapped in Greece due to the cancellation of all scheduled and non-scheduled flights, while visitors who have paid for travel packages will not have their vacation.
“Obviously, the whole chain of tourism services, the economy of local communities and the country’s image will be damaged”, SETE said in an announcement and called on the air traffic controllers to maintain a responsible attitude particularly now that Greece is seeing an increase in demand.
POX: Hotels are already overwhelmed by reactions
The Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) expressed its concern and said that hotels across the country are already overwhelmed by the wave of reactions and concerns expressed by tour operators, travel agencies and individual clients who either have purchased travel packages or made reservations and are preparing to travel to Greece these days and by customers that are scheduled to depart from Greece to their countries.
“If the announced strikes take place, the impact on the whole range of Greek tourism and especially the country’s image will be very heavy. It will require a long time to normalize the situations that will arise”, the federation said in an announcement.
fedHATTA: Greece’s image will face immeasurable damage
The Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies (fedHATTA) referred to the enormous economic damage the tourism industry will face due to “the sudden strike, announced illegally in a very short time”.
The federation said that due to the situation, which has caused airlines to cancel flights in and out of Greece, tourists are being transferred by boat to Turkey in order to take charter flights to their countries.
Meanwhile, fedHATTA also underlined that cruiseships due in Piraeus on Sunday are seeking to find hotels for thousands of passengers that will be stranded due to the strikes.
“Our sector warns that things have gone far enough and is considering to launch action against all responsible for the immeasurable damage caused to the national economy, businesses and the image of our country”, the federation said.