Five islands of the Aegean, which are the main entry points of refugees and migrants to Europe, will receive support to strengthen their tourist arrivals, according to a decision of the Labour and Tourism ministries and the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED).
According to the decision, hotels and lodges on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos, which have seen tourist bookings drop compared to previous years, will receive increased subsidies under the Social Tourism Programme 2015-2016.
The social tourism programme provides vouchers to social groups with mid and low income to take five-day subsidized vacations in various resorts across Greece. Many Greek hotels and lodges are included in the program, which gives a boost the country’s domestic tourism market.
As announced, beneficiaries of the programme — Greek workers, the unemployed and their families — that choose to book their vacation on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos will be entitled to, at no extra cost, 10-day holidays.
Social tourism beneficiaries that will choose other destinations will receive vouchers for five-days.
“It is necessary to support these islands, which are traditional tourist destinations, but are suffering due to increased refugee flows”, Alternate Labour Minister Rania Antonopoulou said.
OAED’s subsidized vacation program will run until November 11.