Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said he would personally see to it that additional aid would be extended to tourism enterprises and employees impacted by the massive fires that hit Evia this month, where more than 5,000 hectares of woodland and many enterprises went up in smoke in five days.
Theoharis said during a meeting with Central Greece Alternate Regional Governor for Tourism Ilias Bourmas and tourism stakeholders in Edipsos on Monday, that he had already tabled a series of immediate measures to support employees in tourism and businesses on Evia and particularly in Edipsos.
The minister underlined the importance of fast-track relief in order for Evia tourism enterprises “to make up for losses suffered during the destructive fires”.
“These measures aim to offer the maximum possible support for employees and companies,” he said.
Theoharis went on to add that among others the ministry would undertake to promote the Evia tourism product under existing or new campaigns as well as include it in the government’s “Tourism for All” scheme.
After being briefed on the damages caused by the wildfires and the challenges ahead for the tourism sector, he agreed to work directly with local professionals in order to resolve issues without delays.
In the meantime, tourism professionals on Greece’s second largest island are painting a bleak picture for the future of the sector.
Evia Hoteliers Association President Miltiades Chelmis stresses that the tourism period has been lost and that all bookings for hotels and accommodation in the north of the island had been cancelled and tourism enterprises on the rest of the island had also been impacted by the fires that burned on the island for five days and tarnished its reputation.
Tourism business owners in Northern Evia announced a campaign last week running under the hashtag #Support_Tourism_VoriaEvia, calling on tourists to continue visiting the island with suggestions and recommendations in the area including beaches, spas and natural springs, monasteries and sites as well as a list of hotels and other forms of accommodation.