UK media giant the Guardian withdrew an advert for holidays in crisis-stricken Greece following widespread criticism in social media.
The Guardian Holiday webpage stated that the package was “exclusively designed for Guardian readers” by Political Tours, an agency specializing in “tailor-made trips for people with a passion for international affairs,” as the operator’s website describes.
At a cost of 2,500 GBP (approximately $3,500), which would not include air fare, prospective travelers were promised to “get an inspiring and educational overview of modern Greece, highlight the lessons learnt from the recent crisis and the resilience of the Greek people,” read the advertisement for the seven-day tour.
The trip gives travelers “the chance to meet local families and discover how their lives have been affected by the financial crisis”, the newspaper’s website said.
“Explore the financial crisis in microcosm through one Athens suburb and the charities and municipalities supporting people through austerity,” the advertisement said.
During the holiday, readers will also be able to discuss the refugee crisis with a local NGO, Greek officials and international agencies, The Guardian said.
Included in the seven-day itinerary from the island of Samos to Athens is the chance to meet and travel with The Guardian’s Greece correspondent, Helena Smith, the newspaper said.
Social media users responded with anger at the advert:
I love the guardian but this is ridiculous. Offering tours in the crisis-ridden #Greece to experience ‘explore the ongoing impact of the financial crisis’. People are taking their own lives as a result of this crisis. Are you gonna show this too during the tour @guardian? https://t.co/ZysLlSxmx8
— Marianna Karakoulaki (@Faloulah) March 28, 2018
This is shameful by @guardian! For 2500 pounds you can live the refugee and financial crisis in Greece. This is offensive for the people caught up in this. pic.twitter.com/AS4uMLCfiF
— Konn1e (@ntina79) March 28, 2018
Come see the poor! See what a collapsing society looks like! Have fun with detained refugees! Experience hopelessness! Be a disaster tourist! The @guardian will be your guide.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I do have to throw up.https://t.co/GVmgloEKWl
— Konstantinos D. (@gnomeslair) March 28, 2018
As if Greece hasn’t been through enough without a bunch of Guardian readers trouncing around on safari. Alternatively, save your £2.5k and go and visit Greece like a normal person and help support local businesses. Believe me, you will still be able to ask questions. Christ. pic.twitter.com/xv9Dc2wwqC
— John Johnston (@johnjohnstonmi) March 28, 2018
The advert was withdrawn late on Wednesday. A spokesman for the newspaper sent the following e-mail to inquiring journalists:
“The Guardian has been working with Political Tours to provide informative trips to Greece and other countries for people who wish to develop their understanding of the political and social landscapes in these places. On reflection we have now paused this project in order to reconsider our approach.” All Political Tours/Guardian packages (Gre, Bos, Ukr) have been removed from site.”
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