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Greece Continues Battle Against Wildfires on the Island of Rhodes
Evacuation and Repatriation Efforts Underway
Greece has been fighting to contain wildfires on the island of Rhodes for a seventh consecutive day. Hundreds of tourists, who were forced to evacuate due to the ongoing fires, are expected to fly back to their home countries. Over the weekend, approximately 20,000 people had to leave their homes and hotels on Rhodes as the wildfires spread across the island and reached coastal resorts. On Monday, more than 2,000 holidaymakers were able to return home, with additional repatriation flights scheduled for Tuesday. Nonetheless, tour operators have canceled upcoming trips, raising concerns about the impact on tourism.
Climate Change and Increased Risk
Although wildfires are common in Greece during the summer months, climate change has intensified heatwaves in southern Europe. This, in turn, has led to an increased risk of wildfires and raised concerns that tourists may choose to stay away from the region. The situation is compounded by the fact that the Greek islands, including Rhodes, are popular destinations for sunseekers from around Europe during the summer season, with a significant number of tourists coming from the UK and Germany.
Fighting the Blazes and Protecting Communities
Firefighting efforts have been ongoing, with hundreds of firefighters, along with help from Turkey and Slovakia, battling to control the wildfires near the villages of Gennadi and Vati in southeast Rhodes. Unfortunately, the fires have resurged due to hot and windy conditions. Despite this, there have been no immediate threats to settlements, according to a fire brigade official. However, wildfires have also affected the island of Corfu and Evia Island, located near Athens.
Tourism Industry Challenges
The Greek tourism industry has been greatly impacted by the wildfires, as tourism accounts for 18% of Greece's overall output and one in five jobs. On Rhodes and other Greek islands, the reliance on tourism is even more significant. Major tour operator TUI has already canceled trips to Rhodes through Friday, offering free cancellations or rebookings to other destinations. The Dutch foreign ministry has also issued a travel warning for Rhodes, Corfu, and Evia. These challenges are exacerbated by the recent high temperatures in Greece, with the mercury forecasted to rise further, potentially exceeding 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. Civil protection authorities have issued warnings about the extreme risk of wildfires on Rhodes and the island of Crete.
Conclusion: Potential Impact on New Business in Greece
With Greece battling wildfires on the island of Rhodes, the ongoing crisis is likely to have a significant impact on new businesses in the region. The evacuation and repatriation efforts, coupled with the cancellation of upcoming trips by major tour operators, point to a decline in tourism that could affect the viability of new businesses.
Climate change and the increased risk of wildfires in southern Europe have raised concerns among tourists who may choose to avoid the region altogether. This is particularly worrisome for businesses that heavily rely on the tourism industry, as Rhodes and other Greek islands are popular summer destinations for travelers from the UK, Germany, and other European countries.
The firefighting efforts, although commendable, have been challenged by hot and windy conditions, leading to resurgences of the fires. While there have been no immediate threats to settlements, the wildfires have impacted other Greek islands as well, such as Corfu and Evia Island, further unsettling the tourism industry.
Considering that tourism accounts for 18% of Greece's overall output and a significant number of jobs, the wildfires on Rhodes pose a considerable challenge for new businesses. The major tour operator TUI has already canceled trips, and travel warnings have been issued, heightening the concern.
Furthermore, the recent high temperatures in Greece, expected to rise even higher, add to the extreme risk of wildfires. This situation amplifies uncertainties for entrepreneurs hoping to establish themselves in the region.
In conclusion, the repercussions of the wildfires on Rhodes and the surrounding Greek islands will likely impact new businesses. The decline in tourism, cancellations by tour operators, and travel warnings indicate a challenging environment for entrepreneurs seeking to establish themselves in the Greek economy, making it imperative to weigh the potential risks before venturing into new business ventures in affected areas.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/25/wildfires-in-greece-burn-for-days-more-tourists-expected-to-fly-out.html