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Greek Tourism Ministry Calls for Cooperation on Refugee ‘Hotspots’

Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesvos. Photo © 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch

Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesvos. Photo © 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch

The Greek Tourism Ministry on Thursday invited local authorities to cooperate for the smooth operation of identification centres, the so-called hotspots, on the Aegean islands where migrants and refugees are disembarking.

In an announcement, the ministry underlined that cooperation is essential to safeguard the country’s image abroad and ensure the smooth and proper development of tourist traffic in 2016.

“While shaping the country’s tourism promotion, the leadership of the Ministry is in constant contact with tour operators from abroad for the development of tourism on the Aegean islands where migrants and refugees are disembarking, and informs them on the timely and coordinated actions of the Greek government within the announced deadlines“, the ministry’s statement read.

The ministry added that the timely creation of the identification centers on the islands shields the safety profile of the Greek destinations. “The centers will be controlled and away from areas of tourist interest.”

The five screening centers, to be set up on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros, will manage the registration procedure for the ever-growing number of refugees entering Europe through Greece.

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