Deadly wildfires in Southern Europe haven’t stopped UK holiday companies from bringing packages to Rhodes back on sale, while the Greek island experienced one of the worst weeks of the year as the blaze resulted in two casualties.
However, climate change’s impact on Italy has been even more severe as the number of casualties due to wildfires in Sicily and storms in the north has totalled seven. In this case, one must ask how safe it is to travel to these destinations, which despite being breathtaking and earning their names for the some of the Mediterranean’s best spots, can pose a threat to one’s safety in the summer of 2023.
The Independent reports that the UK’s biggest tour operators, Jet2 and Tui, have cancelled all flights scheduled to Rhodes in the past days and also refunded those due to the ongoing fires in the Greek island.
However, Tui is expected to resume its holiday deals for Rhodes by this week. In addition, the travel firm Thomas Cook has also been promoting its package to holidaymakers who want to visit Greece. The same says that customers had already flown to Greece last weekend and chose to travel as planned or amend their holiday.
“If they wished to cancel, they will receive a full refund,” the travel firm pointed out.
On the other hand, last week, thousands of British tourists were forced to return home as Rhodes threatened their security. Those who witnessed the scenes described them as terrifying, with power cuts causing chaos on the island.
While the southern part of the island was captured by the blaze that kept spreading due to winds, very high temperatures and dry conditions, the northern region of the island functioned regularly, with extra pressure due to tourists that were evacuated from the danger zone.
The travel operators have provided more options to customers during this uncertain period, with package holidaymakers benefiting from extra protection.
What Options Do Holidaymakers to Greece Have?
People who were uncertain about remaining on the Greek island but whose holidays weren’t directly impacted by the situation of wildfires are unlikely to be offered any refund for the lost holiday times.
“Customers who we have brought back to the UK earlier than their booked return date will receive a pro-rata refund for the days of the hotel stay that were missed.” If a £1,000 [€1,167] holiday that was expected to last two weeks ended halfway through, the refund will be £500 [€583] from easyJet Holidays,” easyJet Holidays told travellers.
Furthermore, if the travel firm or airline cancels the traveller’s trip, they can expect a full refund within two weeks, but if the flight is going ahead, the traveller’s rights for a refund can depend on their package holiday or whether they have booked flights and accommodation individually.
Travel insurance protects travellers from the expenses of natural disasters and wildfires, in addition to many other inconveniences such as medical emergencies, cancellations or lost items, so it is highly advisable to always purchase travel insurance before going on a trip.
In that case, some of Europe’s best insurance companies, as the experience, reputation and customer responses show, include Europ Assistance, AXA Travel Insurance, DR-WALTER, Mondial Care, Mutuaide, and Allianz Travel Insurance.