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Lesvos Feels Brunt of Refugee Influx, Tourism Figures Nosedive

Mytilini town, Lesvos. Photo © Koutrolm / Wikimedia Commons

Mytilini town, Lesvos.

Lesvos sector professionals are seeing their efforts die out as the ongoing refugee influx has taken a toll on local tourism, with June figures down by 67.89 percent, according to data released by Mytilini airport and published in a local paper.

Plomari, Lesvos.

Plomari, Lesvos.

A total of 4,825 visitors made it to the island in June compared to 15,026 in June last year. Seven in 10 travelers who visited the island in 2015 decided against coming again this year due to the refugee crisis, leading to a loss of 10,200 European visitors in June alone, which translates into 6 million euros in revenue.

Accommodation professionals on the northern Aegean Sea island just off the coast of Turkey are saying the crisis has taken a 90 percent bite out of their annual earnings. They expect the island will lose 55,000 tourists this year.

Overall, in the first three months of the tourism season — April, May and June — Lesvos welcomed 9,904 holidaymakers compared to 29,106 last year in the same period, a 65,97 percent drop.

The Lesvos Hoteliers Association, which has sent a letter to relevant government authorities demanding support measures, estimates that every lost night stay is equivalent to 742,500 lost wages and consumption amounting to 2,475 tons of food for 2016.

Among the measures being recommended are a 50 percent reduction in utility charges, the implementation of incentives and special cost schemes, and the decrease in VAT on accommodation.

Meanwhile, with chances of recovery grim, the island’s tour operators are determined to demand support measures, claiming that the reduction in the number of visitors is so overwhelming it is bound to destroy the entire industry and local economy”.

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