Greece is offering a free holiday to tourists who fled due to wildfires

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said people who were evacuated will be able to visit the island for free in 2024

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Lindos, Rhodes
Photograph: Shutterstock

After over 20,000 people fled Rhodes amidst the forest fires last month, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced that all visitors whose holidays were cut short will be entitled to a week-long stay on the island in 2024. 

Greece’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and the fires which ravaged parts of the country in July forced thousands of holidaymakers to flee holiday hotspots such as Rhodes and Corfu. In efforts to encourage people back to the island, the government has pledged to work in partnership with local authorities to host everyone who was forced to flee.  

The catch is that the offer doesn’t apply during the high season. In his announcement, Mitsotakis made it clear that the free week in Rhodes would only be an opportunity during either the spring or the autumn, not the summer. 

According to Mitsotakis, only 15 percent of Rhodes was affected by fires, but this particular evacuation is the largest that Greece has ever had to coordinate, and many popular beach resorts were affected. Many airlines were also forced to cancel flights

Unfortunately, climate change has only led to forest fires in the Mediterranean becoming more intense. A dangerous combination of the so-called Cerberus heatwave, plus already exceptionally dry land conditions and strong winds is what led to the fires spreading from the centre of Rhodes to the eastern and southern coasts. Across Greece, over 120,000 acres of land were scorched, and five people have died.

Read our explainer on the Greece wildfires

Did you see Venice might soon be added to Unesco's list of endangered sites? 

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