The statement by William Hague that Britons in Greece should prepare to evacuate if the debt crisis escalates has been called 'alarmist' by the Association of Independent Tour Operators. Online Travel and Tourism industry magazine, Travelmole
quoted AITO chairman, Derek Moore, "To claim that Britons living in Greece or visiting on holiday are likely to need emergency evacuation is, quite frankly, ridiculous".
The Daily Mail
report that Britons living, working or visiting Greece should be ready to be evacuated has caused an immediate reaction by tour operators."Greece is safe, open for business and looking forward to welcoming its overseas visitors with open arms this summer. Greece offers some of the Mediterranean’s finest beaches, cleanest seas and the unique hospitality of the Greek people," said Mr Moore on Travelmole.
Mr Hague was reported by the Daily Mail as saying that British officials were revising evacuation procedures on a day to day basis and would be ready should the need arise. He urged that Britons register with the British consulate. He added: ‘We have prepared contingency plans if we need to help British nationals who are there in any way. We keep those up to date on a daily basis.’ According to the Telegraph
, the comments were made in an interview on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show.
AITO Chairman Derek Moore said: "To say, as was reported yesterday, that Britons may be put at risk if the civil unrest in the country worsens, is alarmist to say the least and very far from reality". In their press release
, AITO states that Hague's comments are a misinterpretation of the advice issued by the Hague which went " We are encouraging all British nationals travelling and living abroad to register with us on LOCATE, even on short trips". There was no reference made to the Greek situation.