Tour operators angry at Hague comments
February 23rd, 2012 by elisa

The Foreign Secretary’s advice for Brits to register with the Foreign Office’s ‘Locate’ service if they are travelling to Greece has enraged independent tour operators.

The advice was in response to possible civil unrest in the country as protests grow over austerity measures. However, the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) said that William Hague was irresponsible to make such a statement, seemingly “treating the whole of Greece as a war zone”.

Chairman of AITO Derek Moore said: “To say, as was reported yesterday, that Britons may be put at risk if the civil unrest in the country worsens, is alarmist to say the least and very far from reality.

“AITO’s specialist holiday companies working with Greece know the situation very well indeed, and they are unanimously reporting that there is no problem except in two very small, highly-contained areas – firstly, around Syntagma Square, by the Greek Parliament in Athens, and, secondly, in central Thessaloniki, Greece’s next largest city. This is nothing new – it’s exactly the same situation as the past three years.”

He likened the advice to if the Home Secretary had advised people against visiting the Cotswolds or Lake District when the riots over the summer in London, Manchester and Birmingham happened.

“The Foreign Secretary should, we think, temper his advice and issue a prompt statement to clarify the situation,” added Moore. “There is no risk to British holidaymakers who travel on chartered flights direct to resorts on the islands and Greek mainland and who will go nowhere near Athens or Thessaloniki.

“It would be more sensible of the British Government to encourage visitors to Greece to help the Greeks, who have hosted many millions of British holidaymakers over the years. Tourism is one of the few industries in Greece with any potential for growth, and offers the Greeks their best chance of escaping the current financial turmoil.

“Greece is safe, open for business and looking forward to welcoming its overseas visitors with open arms this summer. Greece offers some of the Mediterranean’s finest beaches, cleanest seas and the unique hospitality of the Greek people.”


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