Cassandra trees will grow again

Officials in northern Greece yesterday declared that the area of Cassandra on the Halkidiki peninsula, which was ravaged by forest fires last month, will be reforested, while local hoteliers said the blaze cost them some 2 million euros in lost earnings. The Regional Authority of Central Macedonia said that no construction will be allowed in the area – more than 5,000 hectares – which was razed. Work is continuing in Cassandra to clear burnt debris from the area in an effort to build flood-protection barriers to protect local homes and businesses, officials said. The head of the Halkidiki Hotel Union (HHU), Gerasimos Bakoyiannis, said that the fire had had a serious impact on the earnings of local businesses as many tourists either returned home early or canceled their visits after the blaze on August 21. He also told the Athens News Agency that the Tourism Ministry had not yet paid the 100,000 euros in aid that it had promised the union. The HHU plans to use the money to promote the Halkidiki region, which has 470 hotels and some 40,000 rooms for rent.