Greece has suffered from exaggerated press comments as to the effect on tourists of the country’s economic problems and now the interest and emphasis has switched to the refugee influx onto the islands bordering Turkey. Remember, journalists always seek out bad news as it is bad news that sells newspapers.
The economic problems have, as we have always said, had no effect at all on tourism and the current bailout should, in due course, lead to greater economic stability. There is no doubt that it is now recognised that the debt burden on a struggling country is immense and action will be taken in due course, in some way or another, in order to make the burden sustainable.
Kos and Samos have hit the headlines (as has Tilos from time to time) as islands with difficulties in handling the immigration problem. Kos for us is a transit point with, every so often, an overnight before travelling on to one of the more remote Dodecanese islands. Additional funding is now being provided to help Kos deal with the administration of arrivals and a cruise ship has been chartered in order to provide additional accommodation.
In Samos, our long standing representative Nina Talarowski has this to say – straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak:
“I wondered when Samos was going to creep into the news on the migrant front.
Here, I am pleased to report that it is good news in relation to tourism and hopefully, to a certain extent, the migrants themselves. There are indeed hundreds of migrants arriving in Samos from Turkey. They arrive in the early hours of the morning, mostly into areas along the north-east coast. They know to head for Samos Town and if it gets a bit later and they are seen on the roads, then a local will phone the Port Police and a van or bus will come to collect them and take them to Samos Town, to the harbour area outside the Port Police offices. Samos is an authorised ‘migrant processing’ island and migrants only stay here until the next ferry to Athens departs. So there are none that are actually staying and no ‘camping’ or occupation of old buildings etc. They are treated kindly.
Clients staying in Kerveli might sometimes see them arriving or resting after arrival but it has not been a problem. The odd Kokkari client has spotted some walking along the main road (not through the village) on their way to Samos Town. I have discussed the situation with any who ask but there has certainly been no disturbance to anybody’s holiday. Absolutely no sightings or effect in our south-west resorts of Ormos and Votsalakia.
Clients going to Ikaria may of course see them on the ferry…I had a chat with last week’s arrivals about it as they were going to head for the beach whilst waiting for their ferry, and would be going past the Port Police area where a lot migrants were sitting. They wait calmly in shade, with water. The clients were glad I’d explained to them and were fine about it, sympathetic of course.”
Great compassion is being shown to the migrants by the Greeks who, as we know, have their own problems. There are the obvious flare ups every so often as it is very hot, but on the islands of Kos and Lesvos, the additional funds being provided by the EU are bringing the crisis under control.
Tilos is coping in much the same way as Samos and we have not had any adverse comments from guests. The same applies to Samos and we trust Nina’s word implicitly.
Please do not worry and enjoy your holiday.
To see a short clip from the island of Kos, click here.