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Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Operators slam 'irresponsible' Foreign Secretary Hague


Independent tour operators have accused Foreign Secretary William Hague of irresponsible behaviour after he urged Britons visiting and living in Greece to get in touch with the Consulate in case civil unrest in the country escalates.


As the country today braced itself for further anti-government demonstrations, AITO said it was upset at reports that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was seemingly "treating the whole of Greece as a war zone".


Chairman 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."


Moore said that "very few" holidaymakers fly into Athens or Thessaloniki. "To claim that Britons living in Greece or visiting on holiday are likely to need emergency evacuation is, quite frankly, ridiculous," he added.  "The riots in London, Manchester and Birmingham last summer were on a significantly bigger scale than anything in Greece - yet did the Home Secretary, Theresa May, advise people against visiting the Cotswolds or the Lake District?  She would have been laughed out of Parliament had she done so, I’m pretty sure."

AITO pointed out that the Foreign Office travel advice for Greece makes no mention of plans to evacuate British citizens and no particular mention that holidaymakers visiting Greece should register with the authorities.

 "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."


By Linsey McNeill

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  • Greek islands

    living myself as a foreigner on a Greek Island for many years i'm quite upset about all this wrong pictures the media is given out to the world.Greece has no infrastructure and nothing else then the Tourism,no need of destroying this as well,as the times are already difficult and this country really needs help. Don't forget ...we are all Greek

    By claudia rhodes, Wednesday, September 30, 2015

  • Greece - Irresposible media reporting

    As the ex owner of a prestigious villa company, I am now a Consultant for luxury rental properties, and have my own house in Corfu. During the recent riots in Syntagma, Athens, the BBC reported that "rioting had spread to Crete and Corfu". I can confirm that whilst there was a small demonstration in Corfu town it was peaceful, and no riots or torching of buildings! Outside Corfu town Greek life continued as normal. However, a number of villa cancellations were received, one of them an American who advised that they were "fearful of danger, and being caught in riots". The villa was in the St Stephano/Kassiopi area of Corfu "Kensington on Sea". I tried to convince the client that the nearest thing to riots or fires on Corfu the celebrations for Greek Easter and the midnight firework display. However she refused to be moved and took her much needed business to France,ironically for the benefit of Mr Sarkozy, who has not helped Greece with his Merkozy alliance. Mr Hague shame on you: check the facts first. Follow the footsteps of your Prime Minister and Chancellor, and visit Corfu, with its glorious Unesco Venetian town with no torched buildings or remnants of riots. Instead you will be greeted with a smile and traditional Greek hospitality..knowing you are contributing to the much needed economy of this proud country whose main industry is tourism.

    By Patricia Cpokson, Tuesday, February 28, 2012

  • Irresponsible - Daily Mail

    As per comments on the similar story posted the day before this, it was not Hague but the Daily Mail who totally misrepresented a reply given by him in an interview. No, Greece is not at war and the friendly Greeks in the tourist resorts and villages are looking forward to welcoming you all this summer. Greek 'filoxenia' (friendliness to strangers) is alive and well, the sun will still shine, the views will still be beautiful and those family run tavernas and hotels will be as friendly and enjoyable as ever. Please go to Greece this year and support our struggling fellow Europeans who got stuck in the 'euro' system so could not have their exchange rate adjusted/devalued as we in UK were fortunate enough to be able to do (or have done to us!)

    By Sylvia Cook, Monday, February 27, 2012

  • Hague irresponsible

    I totally agree - we should be trying to send as many people as possible to help get the country up and running. Tourism is a key factor for the greeks and should be encouraged as much as possible

    By john little, Wednesday, February 22, 2012


    The FCO advice seems frankly unnecessary. It is unfortunate as possibly in the future such advice in genuine circumstances of danger may well be treated with suspicion and therefore go unheeded.

    By John Adams, Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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