Greece and Turkey travel advice after 6.7-magnitude earthquake damages buildings and terrifies tourists at Aegean Sea resorts
Tourists planning trips to Aegean Sea destinations affected by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake are wondering whether it is safe to go ahead with their holidays.
British tour operators were busy trying to find out if resorts were damaged and if customers currently in Kos and other hotspots needed to be flown home early.
A number of UK tourists have told how they were waiting for more information from their hotels or tour companies after camping outside overnight.
Within hours, hundreds of tourists were gathered outside the airport in Kos looking to catch flights home.
Which tourist areas have been affected by the earthquake?
The quake struck south of the Turkish city of Bodrum and east of the Greek island of Kos, killing at least two people and leaving more than 120 injured.
The magnitude was measured at 6.7 on the Richter scale.
Numerous aftershocks were weaker but were still felt throughout the region.
How bad was the damage in tourist areas?
The worst-hit area appeared to be Kos Town, where two tourists – one from Sweden and one from Turkey – were killed at a bar which partially collapsed.
The tremor damaged churches, an old mosque, and the port’s 14th century castle, along with old buildings in the town.
British tourists reported damage at resorts, including cracks in walls, floors and pools, and items being knocked over as buildings swayed.
In nearby Turkey, the quake caused cracks on walls of some buildings in the resort of Bodrum, flooded the lower floors of seafront hotels and restaurants and sent moored boats crashing towards the shore.
Flooding caused by a small tsunami was also reported.
Have any flights to holiday destinations been disrupted?
The natural disaster disrupted flights and ferry services, although flights are now operating as scheduled.
Kos’ airport closed briefly, resulting in some cancellations and delays.
The quake struck on a day when air traffic controllers are dealing with the busiest day in UK aviation history, as thousands of families head off on their summer holidays.
However, Kos’ airport doesn’t list any flights to or from the UK on Friday. Bodrum’s airport lists one easyJet flight from London, followed by a return flight.
An eastJet spokeswoman said the flight departed from London as scheduled.
A British Airways spokeswoman said: “We fly to the Kos from Heathrow every Saturday during the summer, and our flights are operating normally.”
Are resorts still open?
There have been no reports of major damage or closures at any resorts or hotels.
British tourist Stephen Palmer told Mirror Online that staff were busy doing repairs to cracked walls and a damaged pool at the hotel were his family is staying in Kos.
They were forced to spent the night outside but were allowed to return later in the morning, and it appeared their holiday would continue as normal.
A BA spokeswoman said of its customers: “The welfare of our customers is always our priority, and we’ve been in contact with BA Holiday guests staying in the Greek resort to confirm they are safe and well.
What should I do if I am already in the region or travelling to it?
In the aftermath, holidaymakers were advised to check with their airline, ferry company or tour operator for updates to services.
The Foreign Office advised Brits in the affected areas to follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators.
A spokesman added: “We are speaking to the Turkish and Greek authorities following an earthquake off the coast of Bodrum and near the island of Kos.
“Any British people in the areas affected should follow the instructions of local authorities.”
Abta said: “Holidaymakers in resort and those due to travel should contact their travel company for the latest updates.
“Holidaymakers in the areas affected are advised to follow the advice of the Foreign Office, local authorities and their travel provider.
“Customers imminently due to travel to this region will be contacted by their tour operator, should it be necessary to discuss changes to their holiday arrangements.”
What are tour operators doing to help?
British tour operators were checking in with their local representatives to find out if there was any damage to resorts and what assistance customers would require.
Abta said: “Abta members are working hard to support customers and staff in resort and they have not reported any casualties or injuries affecting UK holidaymakers.
“Tour operators are working alongside the local authorities to assess the damage, and will make arrangements to move customers should structural damage be found to their accommodation.”
A spokeswoman for Thomson and First Choice said: “We’re aware of an earthquake which occurred off the coast of Turkey and Greece and was felt in many areas including Kos and Bodrum in Turkey.
“We are working closely with our teams in resort and the authorities to provide assistance to those affected.
“More information will be released as it becomes available.”
A spokesman for Jet2 said the holiday operator was also trying to find out more.