The office of Greek tour operator Athens Tours Greece, located on the fourth floor of a building on Akadimias Street in central Athens, was severely damaged on Monday night as a result of an apparent arson attack against the offices of Politeia, a housing partnership network of former parliament members. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to reports, at around 8pm on Monday, an implemented explosive device was placed outside the Politeia offices, on the second floor of the building.
“The fire department said that the fire quickly took hold as the stairwell acted like a chimney. All offices up to the sixth floor have been damaged”, the operation manager of Athens Tours Greece, Yiannis Ioannidis, told the Greek Travel Pages (GTP).
According to Mr Ioannidis, due to the extent of the damages, the business will remain closed for the next two months.
“We will definitely lose out on sales and arrivals for that matter”, Mr Ioannidis said, reminding that the first months of the year are very important for bookings for the new tourism season.
Mr Ioannidis said that the incident will be considered a terrorist act and all affected parties are to receive compensation from the state in three months. “However, the losses of the business for these next two months can not be compensated”, he said, adding that such incidents hurt the image of the city and can discourage travellers from visiting.
In regards to bookings to the Greek capital for the 2016 season, Mr Ioannidis told the GTP that “until now, bookings to Athens suggest a very good season”.
“As we all know, Athens has gone through some very difficult times for many years… If problems do not erupt in the city and people feel safe to visit our country, I think that we are in for a very good season both for Greece and for Athens”, he added.
“The office on the second floor is a target and we do not feel safe here”, he said, adding that he requested for security guards to be placed in the building’s entrance but received a negative response from the owners.
“From April until mid-November we work here until 10pm. If this was April we would have been trapped up here… As a businessman I will not risk the lives of the people that work for me and therefore I am in search of another office”, he told the GTP.
Athens Tours Greece specializes in private sightseeing tours in Athens and other popular destinations in Greece. Its services include Private Tours, Custom Vacation, Honeymoon Packages, Transfers, Bus Tours, Cruises and Yachting.