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New Study Shows Damage of Refugee Crisis to Greek Islands

lesvos_migrantsA new study conducted by the former Greek Economy, Shipping and Tourism Ministry  shows the far-reaching effects of the refugee crisis on the Greek islands, particularly the East Aegean Greek islands.
The report notes that according to the United Nations Refugee Agency there has been a 602% increase in the number of seaborne migrants and refugees to Greece from 2014 to 2015, as 41,048 migrants and refugees entered the country last year — a number that seems small compared to the 288,020 the UN estimates have arrived by September 14, 2015. This year’s number is equal to 2.6% of the total Greek population.
More than half of these arrivals have taken place within a month and a half. Specifically, 107,483 arrived during the month of August, which equals to a 1500% increase compared to August 2014, and 53,663 during the first two weeks of September.
These numbers also raised the cost of managing the incoming refugees and migrants. The report notes that the island of Chios spent 1,440,000 euros to deal with the influx of migrants and refugees, while Lesvos spent 947,000 euros and Kos 300,000 euros.
The Greek islands and especially Kos’s tourism sector have been severely hampered by this influx.
“In Kos’s case, there have been 178,000 cancellations (120,000 from Tour Operators and another 58,000 from individual clients). This number equals to a 400% increase of cancellations compared to the same period in 2014. Significant cancellations of overnight stays were recorded in the islands of Leros and Lesvos, reaching up to 30%,” the report found and further noted that financial damage to Kos from job losses are estimated to be around 7 million euros.

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