Holidaymakers on Kos start returning to hotels after wildfire evacuation

By Lisa James
02/07/2024
Home » Holidaymakers on Kos start returning to hotels after wildfire evacuation

Holidaymakers who were evacuated on Monday because of wildfire on the Greek island of Kos have started returning to their hotels.

Authorities evacuated the resort town of Kardamena on Monday afternoon, with holidaymakers and residents taken by bus to local schools and a football stadium. TUI has cancelled holidays for customers due to travel to Kardamena today and impacted guests are being contacted to discuss options.

The fire on Kos was one of 52 wildfires in Greece in the last 24 hours, according to the Greek Fire Department. Firefighters also tackled a fire on the island of Chios, where people were told to head to a nearby beach, while fire also broke out in the early hours in Heraklion, Crete.

The fire brigade said more than 100 firefighters, assisted by a helicopter, are still tackling the blaze to stop it flaring up again, according to Reuters, however, the authorities have said people can now return to Kardamena.

Hays Travel PTC Natalie Taylor posted on Travel Gossip’s Facebook group on Monday evening to say her customers had received a text to tell them they were being evacuated from the Holiday Village Atlantica Mikri Poli Kos and were travelling with TUI to a local football pitch and awaiting further instructions.

Natalie told Travel Gossip: “My customers got evacuated late afternoon and they got taken to a school and then moved on to a football pitch where they stayed for a few hours. There was a hotel attached to the football pitch and they got put into a room there and had a comfortable night.

“They got taken back to the hotel this morning and had breakfast and then back round the pool. It was a scary time for them, but they said it was very well managed and they were kept informed all the whole time.

“It was calm and organised and both the TUI reps and and the holiday village staff stayed with them all.”

TUI told holidaymakers this morning: “We have now received official notification from Civil Protection that everyone can return to their hotels. We are currently starting to organise coaches to return everyone who was evacuated.

“We understand that yesterday and last night was difficult for all of you and we are sorry this has happened to you during your holiday with us. We hope that once you are back in your hotels, you can continue with the rest of your holiday without further disruption.”

A TUI spokesperson said: “The safety of our customers and colleagues is our number one priority and our teams have been working to support customers impacted by a wildfire in the Kardamena area of Kos, Greece.

“Coaches are now transporting guests back to their hotels following a precautionary evacuation order which was issued last night by the Greek Civil Guard.

“We have our TUI reps on the ground working to support customers as they return to hotels. Customers in Kos are advised to continue to follow the advice of local authorities.”

A Jet2 spokesperson said: “The local authorities in Kos requested a precautionary evacuation of Kardamena yesterday evening (1st July 2024) due to a wildfire affecting a part of the island. We can confirm that the authorities ended these precautionary measures this morning, and we are already in the process of helping transport customers back to their hotels to enjoy the rest of their holidays.

“Our teams were present to assist customers in-person throughout, and we continued to provide updates, including reminding customers of our 24/7 Customer Helpline details. We would like to thank customers for their understanding and patience.

“We are continuing to keep the situation under review, and our teams remain present to provide assistance to customers. Our flight and holiday programmes to Kos are operating as normal.

EasyJet holidays told customers to check SMS and email for updates. “For customers who have been evacuated from their hotel, we have members of our easyJet holidays team at all rendezvous points, to provide further support and guidance, so we ask our customers to make themselves known to these representatives,” the operator said.

EasyJet added most of Kos is unaffected, ‘so holidays are going ahead as planned’.

Greek Travel Pages said a 63-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Chios fire.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said there had been high levels of drought and unusually strong winds in June and warned this summer ‘is predicted to be particularly dangerous’ for wildfires.

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