NEWS

Tourism chief vows to fight yobs

Reacting to a spate of disturbances in Greek resorts by drunken British tourists this summer, tourism officials yesterday heralded a crackdown on tour operators that attract troublemakers. UK nationals on holiday at island resorts specially geared to attract large numbers of beer-guzzling, club-going young Britons have been involved in incidents ranging from murder – with a broken bottle, during a drunken brawl in a Rhodes nightclub – to exhibitionism and public sex. «Greece will courageously protect the quality and identity of its tourism,» Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) president Ioannis Patellis said in a letter to a British tour operator some of whose representatives were involved in a public oral sex display on Corfu. «We will resist tour operators that sell package tours at ridiculously low prices and attract tourists who, while failing to provide significant benefits, create trouble.» GNTO made the letter public yesterday. The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) yesterday weighed in by calling on tour operators to steer clear of rowdy package tourists. «Both the government and businessmen must make clear that we are not interested in that specific group of people,» it said. «Incidents such as the recent ones, which lead to the cheapening of our tourist product, serve as an alarm that everyone involved in tourism should take seriously into consideration.» HATTA urged its members to embrace «quality tourism.» Although British tourists frequenting resorts on Rhodes, Crete and Corfu were never renowned for their genteel manners, the Rhodes murder of a 17-year-old Briton by a fellow UK national – at the Faliraki seaside pub and club strip – prompted an outcry.