Over 2,700 Dutch on Greek islands; no immediate evacuation after earthquake: TUI

Tourists camping outside a hotel on Greek island Kos after an earthquake, 21 Jul 2017
Tourists camping outside a hotel on Greek island Kos after an earthquake, 21 Jul 2017Photo: @Chris55335208 / Twitter

Travel organization TUI currently has 2,721 Dutch tourists on the Greek islands of Kos and Kras. The organization is not planning an immediate evacuation of Dutch people on Kos, which was hit hard by a large earthquake just off the nearby Turkish coast early on Friday morning. TUI is first focused on making sure everyone is safe and whether the tourists' hotels are still inhabitable, spokesperson Petra Kok said to newspaper AD. 

Kos is a very popular holiday destination among Dutch travelers. "You have to imagine that a multitude of that number Dutch are there through other travel agencies", Kok said to the newspaper. "At the moment we are finding out if everyone is safe. We sent everyone a sms with the call to report if they are okay. Fortunately, so far it seems to be the case for everyone, but not everyone has responded."

According to Kok, there are no plans for an immediate evacuation. "At least the first flights will not be until tomorrow and the day after tomorrow", she said. The local airport is expected to be closed until at least 2:00 p.m. on Friday. "All our tour guides are currently on the way to the hotels where our travelers are staying to see if they can stay there or have to be accommodated elsewhere."

The earthquake caused the most injuries and damage in Kos city. "Many of the hotels near the city center will no longer be habitable", Kok said. What will happen to the tourists in those hotels is not yet clear. "We will discuss with the people themselves what they want to do. We will have to accommodate them somewhere else in the coming night."

The consequences for travelers scheduled to leave for Kos over the weekend are also unclear. TUI has two flights scheduled to Kos on Saturday. "Whether they can actually leave for the island is being investigated", Kok said.

A Transavia flight from Schiphol to Kos left on Friday morning with a few hours delay, according to AD.