Greece to act over British tourists' antics
Greek officials will hold emergency talks next week after outrage about "sex-crazed" British tourists running amok on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
The talks, led by Greece's tourism minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, come amid growing government concern about the alcohol-fuelled antics sullying the reputation of the country's resorts.
As Europe's latest clubbers' "paradise", the Laganas beach resort on Zakynthos has been besieged by British hedonists deserting Faliraki on Rhodes, where two Club 18-30 reps were jailed last year for performing oral sex in public.
"We will meet with the mayor, the local governor of the area and other authorities to try to find a way to solve this situation," Aristides Kaloyeropoulos, the head of Greece's national tourist organisation, EOT, told the Guardian.
"Laganas has clearly replaced Faliraki, which is totally empty this year. Faliraki went overboard; it sold itself as the 'destination for orgies' and people there regret it now. In Zakynthos, they don't want to make the same mistake."
The meeting follows calls from locals for a clampdown on the excesses, which have included revellers being photographed playing sex games and conducting orgies in the bars and beaches of the resort.
The island's Socialist MP, Dimitirios Varvarigos, told the Guardian that the "shameless Britons" should be extradited and tried for committing "gross public indecency", a charge that carries a three-year jail term. "It would be very useful if Britain could offer us advice and police support as it did in Faliraki," the politician said.
This summer, the Federation of British Tour Operators promised Greek authorities that steps had been taken to ensure there would be no repeat of the alcohol-fuelled antics that brought notoriety to Faliraki.
Holiday reps who encourage marathon pub crawls have been blamed for the bad behaviour. Police shut down at least two bars in Laganas this month after it emerged that revellers drinking lethal fishbowl cocktails laced with drugs had engaged in public sex.
"They are low-market tourists who bring very little business other than buying alcohol," said Stavros Papadatos, Laganas's deputy mayor. "It's not just that they're loud and offensive, business has also suffered."
The shenanigans made Greeks feel
ed, fearful and ashamed, Mr Avramopoulos said.
"The last thing Greece wants, or needs, is ghettos of British hooligans," he told the Guardian last year. "We will not tolerate this sort of bad behaviour because it is bad for the image of our country and it is bad for the image of British tourists, the vast majority of whom are certainly not like that."
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