Strike strands Bulgarian tourists on Greek islands
Crisis staffs have been set up at Bulgaria’s embassy in Athens and the consulate in Thessaloniki because a general strike in Greece has left large numbers of Bulgarian tourists stranded on several Greek islands.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said late on May 7 that the situation was most serious on the island of Corfu, where there were about 10 buses with Bulgarians who could not leave the island.
The stranding of the tourists is the result of maritime transport being affected by the general strike by Greece’s major trade unions, protesting against tax and pension reforms.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that the embassy in Athens had held talks with the emergency situations staffs of the Greek foreign ministry and ministry of merchant marine.
The Greek officials said that it was possible that the strike by maritime transport workers would end on the evening of Sunday May 8, 24 hours earlier than originally scheduled.
Until then, the only option for Bulgarian citizens to leave the Greek islands was by air. Greek authorities had taken action to increase the number of flights from the islands to Athens and Thessaloniki, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.
The Bulgarian embassy in Athens and the consulate in Thessaloniki were in constant contact with the Greek authorities in order to provide timely assistance to affected citizens and resolve the situation, the ministry said.
It said that Bulgarian citizens can could contact its diplomatic offices in Greece by phone.
So far, Bulgarians on only two islands had sought information from the embassy in Athens, the ministry said.
Many Bulgarians went on holiday in Greece from May 6 to 8 because of the three-day weekend in Bulgaria because of St George’s Day.
(Photo: Stefanos Kozanis)