Greek-Turkish air battles over the remote island of Kastellorizo are creating a wave of tourist departures and accommodation cancellations on the Greek island.
Greek and Turkish warplanes flew over the skies of Kastellorizo for more than two and a half hours. Around 16:00 they broke the sound barrier, causing a loud noise.
The tourists got scared and got on their cell phones to get information and see what happened. A little later, they picked up the towels and umbrellas from the beach and left for their rooms, while those who were sleeping woke up to the deafening sound,” the tourist agent of the island, Konstantinos Papoutsis, described to Ethnos.
Early Monday afternoon, the travel agencies were filled with noisy tourists and visitors who were wanting a return ticket for the first boat to Rhodes. Phones are “broken” in the travel agencies of the remote island.
“They ask us how things are while some people are cancelling for August. On Tuesday afternoon we had traffic from tourists who were wanting a ticket to leave by boat on Wednesday morning,” Papoutsis said.
Indicative of the prevailing numbness is the phone call that Papoutsis received from the captain of a luxury yacht, which sails off Cyprus and was planning to “moor” in the next few days in Kastellorizo.
”He asked me if it is safe to moor on the island. We need support from the State. We are a safe destination. We have already lost a month and a half and if we lose in August too many families will not be able to make ends meet in the winter. When someone sits in front of the television and the internet and is bombarded with horror news, it makes sense to be scared and cancel and not come to the island,” he said.
An unusually large number of tourists descending to the port on Wednesday morning was recorded by the baker of Kastellorizo.
“We laugh because we are used to living with air battles but the tourists were scared,” the baker told Ethnos.
Those workers who are on the island and are employed in construction and other work are also worried.
“We do not see things well, it is their permanent expression,” he said.
Come for a vacation in Kastellorizo
A few hours after the Greek-Turkish air battles, calm returned to the island on Wednesday with local residents facing the situation calmly. The island is home to, among others, Belgians, Italians and Germans. Most, however, cannot understand what is happening and continue their vacation normally.
“The locals are not afraid. They are used to it. It is in our skin. We live with it. This cologne lasts for years. On a daily basis we have air battles and violations at sea. Turkey is opposite us by only 800 meters. Of course, air battles were often shorter, usually 5 minutes. This time it lasted two to two and a half hours,” said the deputy mayor of Kastellorizo, Dimitris Achladiotis, to Ethnos.
“In the past, we had more than 1,000 tourists on the island. On Monday, we saw traffic to the island’s agencies with people looking for a way to leave. Leaving tourists and looking for a customer with binoculars is a bad thing. Kastellorizo is a safe destination. There is no problem. And the forces that are on the island are enough to protect the island. Come for a vacation in Kastellorizo. We are still waiting for you,” he urged.