Greece is counting the cost of its forest fires, put at 0.6 percent of its GDP. Nearly five thousand acres have been destroyed.
The Greek Government has budgeted nearly a third of a billion euros for immediate relief. Tourists say they are still wary. One says: “It definitely affected our travel plans, we have decided to leave earlier”.
But the Greek Tourism industry is keen to reassure travellers that all is well. Before the fires, July saw tourism increase by nearly six percent. Stavros Bouzanis is vice president of Greek Tourism. He says: “These fires affecting Greece, the economy and the environment. Fortunately, if we can use this word at this moment, the main tourism infrastructure of the country and the main tourist destinations of the country are not affected by these fires. Except the area of Olympia.”
At Olympia, the museum, the academy and the stadium are safe. The ancient ruins of Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games, have reopened. Tourists have begun to trickle back. Tourism accounts for one fifth of Greek GDP.