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Kos plea as tourists tumble

- by Dave Sewel

Kos holiday plea as tourist numbers tumble.

The people of Kos have been urged to show restraint in dealing with visitors on holiday in Kos if the Greek island is to survive the current economic turmoil. The warning comes as holiday bookings to Kos take a tumble in the wake of harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece in return for a bailout of Greece's faltering economy.

Greek Island hotel owners have been forced to to slash prices in a bid to fill the empty rooms and Greece goes to the polls on June 15 to try and elect a stable government just as the summer holiday season gets under way.

A letter to the editor of the Kos Explorer from a Kos mother-of-four, Tracey Sekallris, born in England, warns that tensions must not spill over and hit the Kos holiday trade.

She warns: "On the local Kos front we have the taxi drivers, bus drivers and now the boat owners all screaming and shouting at each other and really not helping the tourist industry in Kos."

She adds: "These people are destroying the image of Kos, not helping themselves, their families or the island of Kos and the beautiful Greek holiday destination that people once loved."

The Greek Islands have been badly hit by a 12% drop in tourist numbers this year as visitor concern grows over Greece's growing debt problems and the economic and political turmoil.

Tracey reports of a rise in anger and tension in the Kos population as the Greek austerity measure hit hard. She claims that Kos holiday visitors are feeling the brunt as tensions rise.

Che cite examples of behaviour that could affect the tourist trade on Kos such as bar workers trying to drag people of the street and into their bars and restaurants and angry rows breaking out in the street betweem rival restaurant owners.

Tracey claims this is done in "total desperation" but visitors are already complaining and have said it has put them off ever coming to Kos again.

She added: "Anger and tension is felt everywhere you go. The sorrows and despair of hotel, shop, restaurant, beach owners hangs heavy in the air."

Kos hotel owners have already been warned that a major tour operator is insisting that new contracts include a clause to cover any losses caused by a devaluation of any new currency.

The tourist industry is one of Greece's biggest money earners and a drop in holiday visitors could have a major impact on the economy.

Tracey is a freelance writer and blogger who has lived on Kos for many years after meeting her restaurant owner husband while on a visit to Kos.