Thousands of tourists stranded due to ferry strike on Greek Islands

Tourists that had travelled out to the Greek Islands were left stranded and unable to leave the Islands due to a ferry strike. Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete have been affected by the strike; all of which are popular destinations with British tourists.

It is thought that almost 200,000 holidaymakers could be affected on the Islands. Some islands do not have local airports, meaning there is no method other than a ferry to leave them. Luckily, Mykonos, Santorini and Crete all have airports that tourists could use to leave the islands if the situation doesn’t clear up.

The strike isn’t only affecting the ferries. 50,000 private vehicles and 3,000 trucks which aid local deliveries and produce are also included in the strike; according to the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships.

Crew union PNO has confirmed that ferries would not be leaving any port until 6am on Wednesday, and that’s only if the Union’s proposal is accepted – the protest could be extended if the agreement over pay increases of five per cent and tax breaks is not met. The strike follows a freeze on pay increases that has lasted 8 years, following the Greek crisis.

A meeting between shipowners and the union that took place on 29th August, and between them, they failed to reach an agreement. Union members were only offered a 1% increase on their current pay, according to reports by World Maritime News, a rate that simply wasn’t acceptable to shipowners after a pay freeze that has lasted almost a decade.

Passengers who are affected by the strike can claim a refund and should contact their travel agents. Some tourists have taken to social media to bemoan the situation, though some are actually quite pleased to be stuck on Greece’s beautiful islands. At the very least, if there were any plus sides to this situation for stranded tourists, not only will they be able to get refunds from their travel agents, they also get to spend more time on their current island to take in the sites and explore.

When it comes to situations like this, there is little that travellers can do. It’s best to make the most of the situation.

Tourism in Greece has become difficult in recent years. Many islands are struggling under the increase in tourists that visit, particularly in the summer months, and with the growth in tourism that Greece is experiencing, Greek politician and environmentalist Nikos Chrysogelos advised The Guardian that there’s a danger of the infrastructure not being prepared for such a volume of visitors. He believes that Greece needs a more sustainable model of tourism, to help prevent their smaller, more rural islands from suffering during tourist-heavy months.

This year, the country was predicted to welcome approximately 32 million travellers – which is an increase of almost 100% when compared to the 15 million visitors that Greece had in 2010 and over five times the number of visitors from just 10 years ago. 

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