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Rhodes island news and views

Rhodes Island Greece is steeped in history, boasts 300 days sunshine a year and Is one of the most popular of the Greek beach holiday Islands. Rhodes lies at the southern end of the Dodecanese island chain that skirts the Turkish coast. Many resorts are devoted to package tourism but Rhodes is big enough to take all types of travellers – from beach holiday families to independent backpackers.

Rhodes may get a new Colossus statue
Rhodes may get new Colossus

The Greek holiday island of Rhodes may be in for a new visitor attraction in an ambitious plan to rebuild the Colossus of Rhodes. UK civil engineers are involved in the scheme to recreate the former Wonder of the Ancient World statue that once stood over the port of Rhodes. The original 30-metre high bronze Colossus was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC. Now engineers, architects and designers from the UK, Greece, Spain and Italy plan to build an even taller Colossus that they claim can boost holiday visitors and the island economy. If it gets the go-ahead, the new Colossus will be 150-metre tall and feature a lighthouse, galleries, museums, a cultural centre, a library, restaurants and other visitor attractions. A spokesman for the consortium behind the Colossus project said: "With our work, we try to put Rhodes again on the world map and to restore its historical importance as a cultural bridge for three continents, attracting huge quantities of visitors every year." They claim the new Colossus of Rhodes can be built in three to four years at a cost of €240 – 260 million. International crowdfunding is being considered as an option to raise the cash. It is estimated it could attract visitors by the tens of thousand, help extend the tourist season on Rhodes by several months and raise €35 million a year in income. The original statue was erected in honour of the Greek god Titan in 280BC and was thought to stand on a podium in the centre of the harbour. Its ruins were thought to have laid in the water until Saracens pillaged the island in 654AD and removed, sold or destroyed the remaining relics. Architects say the huge statue can be covered in solar panels to make it self-sufficient regarding energy. The team behind the ambitious project include: Greek architect Ari Palla; Greek archaeologist Christos Giannas; Spanish civil engineer Enrique Fernández Menendez,; Italian architect Ombretta Iannone; Spanish economist Matilda Palla and UK engineer Eral Dupi. The mayor of Rhodes, Fotis Chatzidiakos, is backing the project which he believes will benefit Rhodes significantly, creating jobs, attracting tourists and placing Rhodes on the cultural map of the Mediterranean.

homson Boeing737 manchester
Brits first on Rhodes

Rhodes is set to spearhead the Greek Island tourist invasion later this month when the first charter plane lands at Rhodes' Diagoras Airport. The Boeing 757 from Manchester is expected to land at around 8.15pm on March 28 effectively marking the start of the package holiday season on Rhodes. And the holiday island is set to greet the 'early-bird' British holiday arrivals in style with a special welcome reception that will include performances laid on by local acting groups. The Manchester flight, by package holiday giant Thomson, will just pip the post in starting the Greek holiday season on Rhodes this year. Just 35 minutes later another Thomson flight from Gatwick is expected to land at Diagoras with a full complement of holidaymakers. After March 28, incoming holiday flights arrive thick and fast with three flights the following day from Tel Aviv in Israel at 10.30am followed by a British Ryanair flight from the East Midlands and another from Belgium. A spokesman for the Rhodes Tourism GGG said:" England is the country remains firmly in first place and which this year will maintain the lead in the tourist season." No charter flights are due on the 30th but the last day of the month sees Ryanair flights arriving from Stansted and the following day the same company flies in from Stockholm carrying Swedish tourists. Tourism leaders across Greece and the Greek Islands are banking on another record year for tourist arrivals in 2015. It comes despite a poor start for 'early-bird' holiday bookings this season and concern over political unrest which saw the election of a new left-wing government last month. Fears that Greece might be forced to make an early exit from the euro also fuelled concern over booking holidays this year. Despite the difficulties and the negative image of Greece in some European countries, particularly in Germany, early signs in 2015 are promising. There is already an increase in charter companies booking airport 'slots' and tourism officials describe early figures for 2015 as 'promising'. The new Greek government has made extending the tourist season a top priority for 2015 with the intention of making Greece and the Greek Islands a year-round holiday destination. Incoming Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura says the new Greek government is planning to cash in on the country's tourist potential after figures showed that tourism directly contributed €17 billion to the Greek economy in 2014. A study revealed that tourism was the only sector of the struggling Greek economy to have shown significant growth as rest of the country faced a tough austerity programme. The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) recently announced it's target four tourism numbers in 2015. It hopes to attract 25 million international arrivals in 2015, beating last year's total which is expected to top 21.5million. The optimism follows early indications that airline seat capacity on holiday charters flying to Greek airports this year has already increased by one million on the numbers for 2014. Holiday arrivals from the UK alone rose 13.2% last year while French visitors jumped 27% and German tourists by 8.5%.

villa de vechi rhodes
Mussolini villa goes on sale

Luxury villa on Rhodes on the market after 50 years. A Greek luxury holiday villa on Rhodes, built for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, has been put on the open market after lying derelict for more than 50 years. The cash-strapped Greek government is offering a 50-year lease on the abandoned Villa de Vecchi as part of an extensive sale of government property in order to raise cash. The timber and stone Villa De Vecchi was built in 1936 by Count Cesare De Vecchi, a Mussolini loyalist who was appointed governor of the Dodecanese islands when they were seized by Italy from the Ottoman Turks in 1912. Mussolini never set foot on the island and the villa was abandoned when Rhodes was ceded to Greece in 1947. The villa has lain derelict ever since and is now covered in graffiti. The two-storey villa, built in the Alpine style, is located on the hillside of Profitis Elias near the east coast village of Archangelos about 25 kilometres south of the port capital of Rhodes. The Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF) has the task of raising as much cash as it can from state property sales in a bid to reduce the Greek government debt. The dictator's villa is just one of 13 empty properties that are being offered as prospective small luxury hotels. Three for sale only with the remaining 10 offered for leasehold from 50 to 99 years. The Greek government is though to own more than 80,000 properties and real estate, from a castle in Corfu to a former US army base on Crete. Sales of real estate could rake in a significant amount of cash to help pay off its international debts. But the sell-off is not without its critics and some argue that Greece is too keen to put its national heritage on the open market. Among the potential luxury hotel sites for sale in Greece and the Greek Islands are eight 'Xenia' hotels, the result of a failed attempt by the Greek government to provide accommodation for a growing tourism industry. Abandoned hotels on the islands of Thassos and Andros may well appeal to international buyers. The fund's biggest deal was the sale of the old Athens airport site to a Chinese-Arabian backed development company for € 915 million following two years of negotiations.

pink floyd mansion
Rhodes Pink Floyd house sale

Price tag of €1.1 on property near Pefkos holiday resort. The former Rhodes holiday home of Pink Floyd band member David Gilmour has been put on sale with a price tag of around €1 million by the current owners. The beachfront mansion near the Rhodes holiday resort of Pefkos and which once hosted many of Gilmour's celebrity friends was sold to an Italian couple some years ago. The kitsch Art Nouveau pile is still referred to by locals as the 'Pink Floyd Mansion' and lies in extensive grounds overlooking Askeftos Bay with landscaped gardens and six guest houses in the grounds. The main mansion house is built on two levels with three bedrooms, two large courtyards, lush gardens and a large swimming pool complete with pool bar and ballustraded bridges. An impressive private drive sweeps up to the secluded property which has extensive views over Pefkos and a mountain backdrop. The sale is being handled by Savvaidis Real Estate and you can get a video tour here. It's not the only pricey plot on sale in the exclusive holiday region near Lindos. A 17th century mansion in the heart of Lindos on is also on sale at €2 million. The medieval building has been has been rebuilt over various historical periods and is approached through a spectacular stone arcade. Surrounded by high stone walls and renovated in the 1960s the mansion has hosted many celebrity guests over the years and has featured in prestigious architectural magazines and even a Hollywood movie. The sales on Rhodes come as prices tumble for real estate across Greece generally with many properties on sale at two thirds of their original value and forecasts that property prices may have fallen by as much as 40% by the end of the year. Figures from Eurobank Property Services indicate that house prices in Greece will keep dropping until 2016. Until now, prices have fallen 35% on average since the start of the Greek crisis with around 250,000 unsold properties currently on the market.

rhodes storm
Islands suffer winter storms

Heavy rains turn roads into rivers. With memories of summer holidays in the Greek Islands still in mind spare a thought for those living on Rhodes where strong winter storms continue to lash the island. The sun-kissed island of Rhodes may be a blaze of sunshine during the summer holiday season but this winter is one of the worst ever. The streets of Rhodes Town were compared to the canals of Venice after thunderstorms hit the island, turning streets into rivers and flooding homes, hotels and shops. The latest New Year downpours follow a series of winter storms that have killed as least three people, swept away by swollen rivers. The main road from Rhodes to Lindos was closed after reports of a landslide cause be persistent heavy rains and island fire services have been stretched to the limit responding to calls to help people trapped in their homes or stranded in cars. Fire crews have been pumping flood water from homes, shops and hotels right across the city of Rhodes but mainly in the areas of Rodini, Sgourou and Korakonero. Roads were blocked in the Rodini district when an electric pole came crashing into the street cutting electricity supplies to homes and hotels. River levels have risen all over the island and farmland is threatened by flooding with water described as "at dangerously high levels". In Afandou the water levels rose half a metre and the village square turned into a lake while torrents of water poured down roads leading to the beach. And Rhodes is not the only island to suffer problems from winter storms. Serious damage was reported on the island of Kos after storms led to swollen rivers and flooding on the road from Kos Town to Tigaki. Heavy rains brought high volumes of water down from the mountain, leaving cars stranded, homes flooded and crops damaged.

rhodes storm
Storms sweep Rhodes

Two dead after severe downpour. At least three people have died in storms that swept across the island of Rhodes. Three women have died on the Greek tourist island and two men are missing after heavy rainfall hit resorts across the holiday island. A 27-year-old woman's body was found in the sea on Saturday near the resort town of Kremasti, one of the areas hardest hit by a severe three-hour downpour. Emergency rescue crews also recovered the body of a 40-year-old woman from a river bank after a helicopter with a 10-man specialized rescue team and dogs has been sent to the island of Rhodes to assist the search and later the body of a 63 year old was found. A state of emergency has been declared on parts of the island of Rhodes and many villages are without electricity after lightning struck power plants. Rescue workers say many basements of houses and stores across the island have been flooded and fire services received more than 130 calls for help with at least 20 people trapped in their homes or cars. Dozens of homes in the Rhodes holiday hotel areas of Ixia and Ialyssos had water supplies cut and no indication of when supplies will be resumed. The state of emergency was invoked after storms lashed the island with heavy rainfall thundering down for more than three hours. Rescue workers and soldiers have been conducting a search alongside the river Kremastis which was badly swollen by the storms. It is the second time this month that the island of Rhodes has been hit by severe weather. In the latest event, roads from Faliraki up the Chain, were transformed into rivers while the city of Rhodes was thrown into traffic chaos. The road from Tsairi to the airport has been declared unsafe after an entire section was damaged by storm water. Severe hailstorms also swept Ixia and Ialyssos and authorities recommend extreme caution despite the bad weather having now eased. People on Rhodes have been warned not use their vehicles unless it is strictly necessary as floods have left many roads in a dangerous condition with abandoned cars across the highways.

Lindos castle and beach Rhodes
Rhodes a hit with Russians

'a major reversal of the tourism landscape'. The rising popularity of Greek Island holidays with the Russians seems almost without end as numbers keep on growing. Latest figures reveal a major reversal of the tourism landscape in Rhodes with more Russian visitors to Greece this year than any other country, including Britain and Germany. UK and German holidaymakers once topped the table of holiday visitors by a large margin but the Russian holiday tourist market is now the biggest growth area for tourism on Rhodes. In terms of overall traffic September has been one of the best months for Rhodes this year beating last year's record visitors and breaking through the 300,000 barrier. In September, holiday charter flights to Rhodes flew in a total of 313,151 passengers compared to 280,876 last year, an increase of 11.5% But the biggest surprise was that UK holiday visitors dropped to second place and German came in the third, followed by Israelis and Italians who occupied the fourth and fifth places. Russian visitors to Rhodes came in top of the table with 53,956 arrivals in September, a jump on 64% on last year while UK holidaymakers rose only 7% to 38,456. Figures for cruise ship visits to Rhodes were, however, disappointing as marine tourism continues to fall and fewer cruise ships dock in Rhodes. Port authorities recorded 57 cruise ship arriving in Rhodes carrying total of 58,445 passengers, while in September last year there were 72 cruise ship visits to Rhodes beinging 69,192 holiday visitors. Rhodes is one of the most popular holiday islands in Greece, steeped in ancient history and claiming over 300 days of clear sunshine a year. Rhodes is located to the south of the Dodecanese island group that follows the coast of Turkey and its sandy beaches and ancient sites make it one of the most highly prized holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. Many beach resorts in the north and east are geared to package tourism and the top holiday hotspots are packed with fun loving holiday crowds. But Rhodes is big enough to accommodate the high visitor numbers and the south of the island has many wild and windswept beaches to escape the crowds.

Lindos castle and beach Rhodes
Lindos pollution

Alarm at pollution in Lindos. Alarm bells are ringing after a pollution incident in the hugely popular holiday resort of Lindos on Rhodes. Pollution in the top holiday resort was a problem for many years until a new waste treatment system was put in place. But a sewage pollution incident in the Psaltou area of Lindos has raised concerns about whether the sewerage system is up to the job. Prosecutors have questioned local people about the incident and ordered an investigation into what happened. But not everyone is happy with the situation in Lindos, a beach resort that attracts thousands of holiday visitors each year and is considered one of the most attractive beach resorts on Rhodes. An island newspaper is up in arms over the incident and claims the indifference to the incident could undermine tourism prospects for the whole of Rhodes. An article said: "In any other tourist place on the planet it would be unacceptable and unthinkable to allow this sort of pollution to be caused by us." A question mark still remains over the sewerage treatment system in Lindos where sewage and rainwater are mixed before being pumped out to sea Some years ago the municipality of Lindos investigated plans to constructed a biological waste treatment plant to process the wastewater sewage before pumping it offshore. But the project was abandoned and the contract never put into operation. Now there is talk of restoring the €1 million project. Authorities hope to restore the project next month to improve sewage treatment facilities in Lindos and prevent any re-occurrence of the latest incident

Racing yachts
Rhodes regatta

Talks on yacht regatta for Rhodes. Talks are under way to stage a major annual international yacht regatta and sailing competition on the holiday island of Rhodes. Island leaders say the even could bring in €60 million to local businesses each year and boost the island's economy. Talks have been held between Rhodes mayor, the island's hotel association and the Greek national sailing team over staging the event. Sotiris Bouza of the Greek sailing team said: ""The city of Rhodes is one of the places we've chosen to organize large and international sailing competitions in Greece. Rhodes has all the physical infrastructure the tourism and ability to host such games." The regatta would probably be held in spring or autumn and help to extend the holiday season on Rhodes. Staging such an event will require large infrastructure facilities, manpower and technical expertise but organisers are sure that Rhodes can tick all the boxes. They may also incorporate resorts in Italy and Cyprus to make it a major east Mediterranean tourist attraction. A similar even staged in Trapani, Italy, in 2005 attracted 500,000 people. There could also be considerable spin-offs from regular yacht regattas in Rhodes, not only in terms of filling out-of-season hotel rooms but in the creation of permanent yacht sailing and coaching facilities on Rhodes. It is estimated that each of the yacht racing competitions could boost the numbers taking holidays in Rhodes by 100,000, although in similar events the numbers have been much higher

Wilfires on Greek Island of Serifos
Widlfire alert

Rhodes holiday visitors on fire alert. Holiday visitors to the popular resort of Lindos on Rhodes are on a state of alert as wildfires threaten to spread. The annual round of forest fires on the Greek islands has hit yet again at the height of the summer holiday tourist season. Firefighters have managed to contain wildfire outbreaks on the islands of Rhodes, Crete and Serifos after battling big fires for several days. But in Rhodes, the fires threatened to run out of control as they headed north in the direction of the village of Vati and Apolakkia. The General Secretary for Civil Protection has declared a state of emergency in South Rhodes and in the major holiday resort of Lindos as the fire could threaten inhabited areas. Other fire outbreaks were reported in the villages Profilia, Istrio and Laerma, but they were quickly brought under control. According forest services more than 30,000 acres of forest land have already been lost in the blaze. In Crete a forest fire in Messara was under partial control but flared up again as the wind changed. Two helicopters were brought in to help contain the outbreak. The blaze burned greenhouses and crops and threatened to reach nearby houses and residents of the village of Andiskari were evacuated. The situation in Serifos is thought to be under control but only after villagers were forced to flee their homes. People living in region of Mega Livadi were evacuated by boat after fire spread across the main road. Villages at Koutalas and Mega Livadi were evacuated. There is no permanent fire service on the island and locals could only stand and watch as the fire spread. Some residents carrying suitcases jumped into the water to avoid the flames. "It was the worst fire ever on the island," some residents said.

Rhodes city gates
Rhodes traders

Rhodes needs ban on traders. Shopkeepers in the old medieval quarter of Rhodes have called for a ban on rogue street traders. Authorities have been urged to crackdown of the dozens of illegal street traders who make a living selling to Rhodes holiday tourists. Local politicians claim illegal traders have taken over the streets of the old medieval city of Rhodes and call on police to clear them away. They claim the situation in Old Rhodes has 'got out of control' with illegal traders setting up stalls and squats with impunity. Thousands of holiday visitors tour the streets and battlements of the historic medieval Rhodes Town – a UNESCO World Heritage site – every day. They make prime targets for local traders who offer everything from sweets and snacks to designer clothes and handbags. The medieval town in Rhodes was mainly built by the Knights of the Order of St John and walking the streets is like stepping back in time (if you ignore the other tourists). At the heart of the city is the Street of the Knights which climbs the hill to the Palace of the Grand Master. Visitors can wander the paved alleys, go under gateways and colonnades, cross squares and investigate obscure courtyards surrounded by battlement walls and dotted with Byzantine churches. There are 11 gates into the old city as well as six wide entrance ways into the medieval town as well as several small ones. Visitors are often pestered by traders and street beggars who mingle with the crowds and disappear quickly if police arrive. Now local politicians claim the beggars and traders are threatening the livelihood of legal traders who pay taxes and fees for their trading places.

Rhodes Diagoras Airport
Rhodes chaos

Rhodes tourists face airport chaos. Tourists flying into Rhodes Airport face chaos and delays as the peak summer holiday season looms, authorities have been warned. The biggest problem is the lack of co-operation between services and agencies which leave new arrivals to the island confused and bewildered. A report says: "The complete lack of cooperation from the central agencies for tourism is creating a complicated puzzle of suffering for thousands of people who choose Rhodes to come and spend their holidays." Rhodes' Diagoras Airport handles nearly three million holiday visitors each year but many face delays and confusion as they pass through the airport terminal. Tourist leaders blame a lack of organisation and co-operation between rival organisation and agencies which struggle to solve their own individual problems with no over-arching plan. The result is that holiday arrivals are taking longer and longer to get through the airport and away to their hotels. A recent problem with air conditioning saw temperatures soar inside airport buildings as hundreds of holidaymakers arrived. Especially troubling is the low staffing levels at the airport medical centre, especially at weekends when passenger traffic levels can be particularly high. Limited parking outside adds to the headaches and the lack of organisation in parking with taxis and hotel buses often parking on pavements, making it difficult for tourists dragging suitcases to find their way. The report warns that things will get worse in July and August when holiday traffic in Rhodes is expected to peak. Rhodes Airport, otherwise known as Diagoras Airport, is located 16 Km south-west of Rhodes town, on the northern coast The airport was built in 1977 and a new terminal opened in 2005 to cope with rising holiday traffic levels It is one of the busiest airports in Greece. Tourist leaders warn that first and last impressions are important in creating a good holiday image for Rhodes and that airport problems must be addressed if Rhodes is to stay a major beach holiday destination in the Greek islands.

Medieval Rose Festival
Medieval festival

Rhodes medieval fair festival. Rhodes takes a trip back in time this month with its 'Medieval Rose' festival. The popular Rhodes island attraction is now its seventh year. Holiday visitors to the Greek island of Rhodes will find streets in the old city crammed with 'crusaders' as locals stage events throughout the last two weeks in June. As well as staging scenes of everyday life in olden days, the Medieval Rhodes festival organisers have also laid on a string cultural events that will attract tourist visitors. This has beens achieved with the help of historians, archaeologists, actors, musicians, artists, craftsmen and a whole host of volunteers who try t bring the medieval days to life again. Events this year include guides tours of Rhodes Medieval City, a dragon parade with medieval music and a 'Middle Ages' day in the castle moat with sword fighting, archery, horse riding, falconry and many other activities. Other resorts across the Greek island of Rhodes will be joining in the fun. At the popular holiday resort of Lindos there is a medieval Fayre and the Fires of the ancient Custom of Saint John Klidonas while the village of Monolithos stages its own Castle Fayre with live music, story-telling under the stars, traditional food and much more. The old town of Rhodes is an ideal setting for a medieval fair as the modern inhabitants on the 150 acre site live in the same houses that were once used by the Knights of St. John 600 years ago. The medieval town layout copies French cities of the 14th century with a wall dividing the northern part with its inner Acropolis and the official buildings of the Knights, from the southern part where most people lived. Thousands of holiday visitors on Rhodes pour through the old city each year to see the ancient walls with their bastions, battlements, towers and gates. The imposing buildings, studded with coat-of-arms, lined with Gothic windows and paved courtyards take Rhodes holiday visitors centuries back in time.

Kolymbia harbour Rhodes
Kolymbia chaos

Kolymbia traffic plan causes chaos. Bewildered holidaymakers on a visit to the holiday resort of Kolymbia on the Greek island of Rhodes are going round in circles. It's thanks to the one-way road system that was supposed to improve tourist traffic flows in and out of the holiday resort. Now local traders have declared the scheme a disaster and called for the new road system to be scrapped before the main Rhodes tourist gets under way. The Association of Shopkeepers in Kolymbia says the new system "did not improve in any way the movement of visitors, suppliers and residents but in contrast have created heated complaints about the chaotic situation." They have been joined by hoteliers, taxi firms and bus owners who are bewildered at the road signs and traffic signals. Buses and cars repeatedly ignore the new signs while holiday visitors in rental cars cannot find their hotels. They point to anomalies such as the case of two hotels, just 400 meters apart, which require a journey of more than 1km to get from one to the other if new road signs are followed. And cars parked along narrow roads make it impossible for tourist coaches to pass each other while to get to some areas of the resort cars must circle the area several times. Road maps showing the new one-way system contain a series of errors such as the mis-naming of roads and signals shown on maps which have never been installed. Local campaigners have called for a meeting with the chief prosecutor of Rhodes to get the system lifted and the one-way system cancelled until a solution can be found. In calling for a halt the local committee of hoteliers say they "consider these traffic arrangements excessive and ineffective" and denounce the municipal authority for the changes in traffic circulation around the holiday resort of Kolymbia Rhodes.

Rodini Park near Rhodes Greece
Rodini park

Rodini Park Rhodes gets new team. The Greek island of Rhodes has always been proud of its Rodini Valley Park which it promotes as a major Rhodes holiday attraction. Now the Rodini Valley park is to get its own management team to develop and promote the green space for both local people and Rhodes' annual holiday visitors. The main aim of the new body will be to enhance the park's features, manage its wildlife, protect its archaeological treasures and run cultural and educational events. Rodini Park was very popular in Roman times and is thought to be one of the first landscaped park in the world. The park is located in a green, shady valley just 10 minutes walks from the city centre of Rhodes. Popular with locals as well as holiday tourists, the densely wooded valley has a small stream and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including resident peacocks and deer. The park is a great escape from the heat and noise of the city where cool, shady pathways thread their way through woodland and along the banks of the stream. The Romans liked it so much they began landscaping the area as parkland, building an aqueduct and erecting park buildings which have remained to today. One of the archaeological highlights is the tomb of the Ptolemies lined with its 21 Doric columns that dates back to Hellenistic times . The park has grown so popular with holiday visitors over the past decade that the authorities in Rhodes are to set up a special organisation to manage it. The main objective will be the protection of the park and to keep its character while at the same time developing the park for recreation and relaxation,. The top priorities will be developing existing green spaces and creating new ones, enhancing the archaeological treasures, developing its educational role and promoting park cultural and artistic events.

Rhodes locusts

Rhodes island hit by locusts. Tourists probably wouldn't find fighting off locusts one of the highlights of abeach holiday on Rhodes. Local farmers too are particularly concerned at the 'biblical' danger to crops if their numbers get too high. Small wonder then that the recent emergence of the insects on the holiday island of Rhodes triggered swift action by the authorities. Farmers were issued with chemical sprays in a bid to reduce pest numbers before they get out of control. Locusts were first spotted in March and top scientists met agronomists and municipal officials to decide on how to deal with the problem. Chemical sprays were issued in areas around Maloma, Archangelos, Afandou and Archipoli where infestations were particularly high. Scientists say the outbreak is mainly due to favourable weather conditions and to the particular type of locust involved. They warn that the best that can be done is to contain the outbreak as it is almost impossible to eradicate the population entirely. A spokesman said: "These coordinated actions, if implemented for some years may in the long run reduce the population to manageable levels and to mitigate the harmful effects." Local farmers will have to consider the economic costs of protection and the effect on the natural environment as well as public and animal health. Farmers and beekeepers have been warned to steer clear of areas where chemical sprays have been applied for at least two days. Local authorities have asked people to alert them to any locust outbreaks on the island of Rhodes so that swift action can be taken.

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