Travel advice for visitors to Greece during the blazes

Travel advice for visitors to Greece during the blazes

Key Points:

  • The raging blazes have centred around the popular towns of Mati and Rafina
  • But most visits to Greece can go ahead as normal
  • Abta says most holidaymakers going to Greek islands won’t be affected by fires

Holidaymakers due to visit Greece are being urged to monitor news reports and follow advice issued by the local authorities or their accommodation providers, after wildfires ripped through tourist resorts leaving 74 dead.

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated from beaches while three woman and a child drowned in the sea while trying to escape flames rampaging through woodland either side of the capital, Athens.

The blazes centre around the coastal town of Matai to the east of Athens while authorities are co-ordinating to rescue tourists who fled to the harbour in Ragina – one of the worst hit areas.

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Greece welcomes 27million holidaymakers each year, and is especially popular with Kiwis who mainly visit the holiday islands of Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Macon’s.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised travellers to follow local updates.

The latest information from SafeTravel.govt.nz advice is that travellers from New Zealand should “follow any instructions issued by the local authorities such as Fire and Rescue services (including evacuation orders), and to monitor the media to keep up to date with local developments.”

In a statement to the Daily Mail the British travel industry body Abta said that most people going to Greece on holiday will avoid the fires.

A spokesperson said: “The wildfires in Greece are northeast of Athens in the Ponteland area and 50km west of Athens.

“This area isn’t a main destination for tourists. People on holiday in the region are advised to monitor news reports and follow any advice or instructions issued by the local authorities, their travel company or their accommodation providers.
edia reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities in affected areas.

“Anyone due to travel imminently to the areas affected should speak to their travel company or accommodation provider.

“Abta is in contact with the authorities in Greece and we are monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile holiday comparison site TravelSupermarket also told holidaymakers that they should monitor the SafeTravel website for any advice as any warning not to travel could affect travel insurance claims.

“They should also check the terms and conditions of their travel insurance policy. While they won’t be covered for simply deciding not to travel, if advice is issued to avoid certain effected areas, travel insurance companies will tend to offer cover to travellers. Again, it is worth giving your insurer a call to find out the latest.”

Any New Zealanders requiring consular assistance can contact the New Zealand Embassy in Rome (accredited to Greece) on +39 06 853 7501. New Zealanders are also advised to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at SafeTravel.govt.nz