EXCLUSIVE Brits shrug off wildfires, refusing to abandon holidays

EXCLUSIVE Brits shrug off wildfires, refusing to abandon holidays

July 27, 2023

EXCLUSIVE – We’re not put off by Greek inferno chaos: Seasoned Brit travellers shrug off dangers of wildfires as they refuse to abandon their prized holidays

  • MailOnline spoke to travellers keen not to waste their holidays despite wildfires 

Seasoned British travellers today shrugged off ‘exaggerated claims’ about the dangers of the wildfires in Rhodes as they refused to abandon their prized holidays.

Fires have raged across parts of Greece during three successive Mediterranean heat waves in the past two weeks, leaving five people dead, including two firefighting pilots, and triggering a huge weekend evacuation of tourists on the island of Rhodes.

Since Wednesday, officials have ordered the evacuation of several communities in the hard-hit area of Magnesia, a coastal area north of Athens. More people were forced to evacuate on Thursday, some via private speed boats, and head to the nearby port city of Volos, as flames rekindled.

Despite the disaster, British backpackers and families told MailOnline of the reassurances they had received from friends and hotel staff living on the popular sunspot as they arrived on early flights from the UK.

Stuart Drake from West Yorkshire said: ‘There was no way we were going to miss our holiday. We know Rhodes like the back of us hand. We were down in the south where the fires are three years ago and I know we are not anywhere near them this year.’

Dan and Amy Cushing with Toby and Freddie, British tourists arriving at Rhodes airport despite the fires that have ravaged the island over the last 6 days

Wildfires continued to rage on the Greek Island of Rhodes on Tuesday

The village of Asklipio in the South of the island was ravaged by fire on Monday night

Mr Drake, a plumber, is spending two weeks island hopping with his wife Nicola and sons Archie, 16 and Seth, 14. They are spending two nights on Rhodes before taking ferries to the islands of Symi and then Kos.

He said: ‘We’ve been in touch with friends who live here and they told us Rhodes is safe.

READ MORE: Just 42 hotels have been affected by wildfires as Greece says tourists SHOULD still come to Rhodes and Brits say there’s ‘nothing to worry about’

‘There has been a lot of exaggeration about how bad the fires have been.’

Wife Nicola added: ‘We love coming to Greece and the people here need us.

‘They make 90 per cent of their money in the summer, so we couldn’t let them down.

‘We came through Covid. They needed us then and they need us now.

‘The first thing I need is a cold Mythos [beer].’

Experienced travellers Dale and Juliet Page claim the forest fires had been ‘wildly exaggerated’ and that it is important to continue to support Rhodes.

Dale, 59, told MailOnline: ‘We come to the Greek islands every year and we know that there are forest fires in the summer.

‘But this year it has been painted like it’s ‘Dante’s inferno’ back in England.

‘The whole situation has been wildly exaggerated.

‘To be honest we are not worried in the slightest.

‘We have spoken to the owner of the apartment we are staying in Lindos and they have reassured us that it is safe.’

Juliet, 61, added: ‘We love coming to Greece so it’s important that we support the Greek people. They rely on tourism on this islands for their livelihoods.’

Nothing could have stopped Lilly Norman from taking the plane to Rhodes this morning, as she is maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding.

Lilly, from Leicester, told MailOnline: ‘There was no question about whether or not we were getting on that plane.

‘I am maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding on Sunday.

‘This has been planned for three years and it could not go ahead without me.

‘She is getting married in Lindos and we have spoken to staff at the hotel and they say it’s fine.’

Her partner Macauley Mewis added: ‘It’ll be fine.’

Lily Norman and Macauley Mewis, who said upon arriving in Rhodes: ‘It’ll be fine’

Dale and Juliet Page from Markfield Leicester, arriving in Rhodes despite the wildfires

The Cushing family from Norwich praised tour operator EasyJet who they claim reassured them their holiday would be safe.

Dan Cushing told MailOnline: ‘EasyJet did stop holidays for a couple of days but now they have reassured us it is safe.

‘We would not have come if EasyJet had said it was unsafe.

‘But we are staying in Faliraki which is a long way from where the fires.

‘So we thought ‘fine’, let’s go.’

 Olga Kefalogianni, Greece’s tourism minister, has insisted travellers should still fly to Rhodes.

She said there ‘has been no disruption in the airport’ and only 10 to 20 per cent of the island has been affected by the fires. 

She added that affected hotel accommodation accounted for 15 per cent of the total capacity of the island.

And UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove insisted the fires had been ‘restricted to one part of the island’ and Rhodes was still safe for British tourists to visit. 

However, Labour has said the Government should ‘rethink’ the advice it is providing.

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