May 18, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

"Bubble" free holiday in Rhodes turned into a voucher of up to 400 euros

After the fires in Rhodes in the summer of 2023, the government promised a free seven-day holiday for tourists who interrupted their stay on the island, but the promises turned into a voucher of 300 or 400 euros for six nights, which in fact became a mockery of tourists.

On 2 August 2023, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a free week's holiday in Rhodes for foreign and Greek tourists who were forced to cut short their holidays due to the fires. At the same time, he especially emphasized: “And to all those whose holidays were interrupted by the fires, the Greek government, in cooperation with local authorities, will offer one week of free holiday in Rhodes next spring, next autumn, so that we can ensure they can return to the island and enjoy its natural beauty “.

Time passed, Law 5079/2023 was published, article 99 of which provided “providing financial assistance to support tourism on the island of Rhodes”and eight months later came ministerial decisions that turned the free holiday into a short stay compared to island standards, without any compensation for travel costs.

There are no such prices in Rhodes

In particular, the Prime Minister's commitment resulted in an accommodation voucher of €300 for six compulsory nights on the island in one to three star hotels and €400 for six nights in four or five star hotels. “There are no such prices in Rhodes”– said one of the hoteliers, suggesting that this amount is too small for the island.

Ministerial decisions turned free holidays into short, by island standards, stays of limited duration without any compensation for transport costs.

In fact, according to the first estimates, very few hotels, especially four- and five-star hotels, will respond to the “invitation”, since the amount of compensation is very small. According to the island's hoteliers, only some small hotels in less than popular areas of the island can join the program. For a triple room in 4 and 5 star hotels, compensation is 66.6 euros per night (total 400 euros for six nights).

Research on Booking

A quick search on Booking revealed that for the indicative date of October 14-20, just eight 4-star hotels (there are no five-star hotels) out of 180 hotels are offering six nights for a total price of less than €400. Also, approximately for the period May 20-26, in 114 1-3-star hotels, only 22 hotels offer prices below 300 euros. So the treasure trove in the Prime Minister's announcement is “divorce”. In fact, some hoteliers, in addition to being disappointed with “a small discount instead of a free holiday”which the program essentially offers, expressed their concern about the bureaucratic procedures it envisages, although they noted that they would like to support the government’s initiative.

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