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Alarm at rise of beggars in Rhodes

- by Dave Sewel

Alarm at rise of beggars in Rhodes Greece.

Gangs of street beggars in the historic city of Rhodes, Greece, could drive away Greek island holiday tourists, city authorities have been warned. The Rhodes Hotel Association warns that the Medieval city, a World Heritage Site and major tourist attraction, has been swamped with gangs of beggars.

The beggars include children and they are deliberately targeting tourist visitors as they wander the streets of the Old Town.

They want urgent talks with the city mayor and police chiefs to tackle the rise in beggars and conmen who frequent the most popular tourists spots.

A spokesman said: 'The recent phenomenon of begging is creating concern throughout the city. Begging seems to be an elaborate undertaking aimed at defrauding the public. The situation is now out of control and unacceptable.'

Tourist traders have also been told to clean up their act if they are to continue to attract Greek island holidays in Rhodes.

 Hotel owners complain of dirty streets cluttered with taverna tables, parking problems and poor toilets which they fear will reduce the number of tourist visitors.

A statement issued by the Association stressed the need to restore the image of the area as soon as possible. A committee composed of members of the administration of the association is to meet the mayor of Rhodes to take action.

The Association is currently working hard to promote greater tourism in the city. Plans include extending the tourist season and to promote student visits to the city.