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Greek Hoteliers Say Tourism to Reinforce Northern Evia Recovery

General view of the burnt forest in the mountain near the village of Avgaria on Evia island. Copyright European Union 2021 / Photographer: Sotiris Dimitropoulmos

Tourism enterprises in Northern Evia face viability challenges after fires ravaged the island for nine days earlier this month, local hoteliers said this week.

Hotel owners are issuing a cry for help, said Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) President Grigoris Tasios, who described the situation on Greece’s second largest island as “tragic”.

“The ecological catastrophe is massive and has direct economic consequences on tourism enterprises that face a serious problem of viability,” said Tasios after an assessment visit of the affected areas together with Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Vassilikos and Tasios met with Evia Hoteliers Association President Miltiades Chelmis and the head of the Edipsos Hotels Association, Theodoros Roumeliotis as well as hoteliers to discuss the day after and prioritise actions for the return to operations of fire-hit tourism businesses.

The meeting followed an inspection visit by Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

The hoteliers and their associations agreed to compile a mission statement requesting a three-speed recovery package which foresees specific actions for the immediate operation of tourism enterprises ahead of winter, short-term actions with effects by 2022, and long-term planning revising the tourism development model on the island

Tasios said tourism professionals in Northern Evia were in a state of “despair”, adding that the fire-affected areas are facing “significant environmental collapse”.

August occupancy on the island before the fires broke out was at 80 percent, today most hotels in Northern Evia are closed apart from Edipsos, where hotels are open with few customers reminiscent of the 2020 season,” he said.

Tasios went on to underline the crucial role tourism has played in the country’s Covid-19-pandemic recovery, adding that “once again the sector will shoulder the burden so that Evia can rise from the ashes”.

Grigoris Tasios

Tourism businesses have been included in a 40-million-euro support package for the reconstruction of Northern Evia announced by the Region of Central Greece on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the HCH made available more than 800 rooms in Attica, Evia, and the Peloponnese to provide accommodation for victims of the wildfires that ravaged Greece for three weeks.

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