Recent wildfires on the South Aegean island of Rhodes have prompted the evacuation of more than 20,000 visitors, causing disruption to many tourists and reportedly damaging 10% of the island’s hotels.

The Greek government has officially announced that the remaining villages that had been evacuated as a precaution are now safe for residents and visitors to return to.

Tourism officials have stressed that Rhodes remains “more welcoming than ever”, and that only a very limited number of the hotels in the fire-affected south of the island remain closed.

The Hotels Association of Rhodes has stated that “Today, the island of Rhodes is fully operational, welcoming thousands of visitors daily and soon 100% of the island’s accommodations will be fully available.”

The organisation also announced an initiative to return the personal effects of evacuated guests who returned home without their luggage, free of charge, if the hotel they were staying at is a member of the association.

The Greek Tourism Ministry added: “The residents of Rhodes, who have been heroic and selfless throughout these difficult days, together with the Greek state, are looking forward to continuing to offer their care and unique hospitality to foreign visitors.”

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Regional Governor of the South Aegean, George Hatzimarkos said: “Rhodes is coming back stronger. Immediate restoration projects are currently underway in the limited number of affected areas and tourism activity has swiftly returned to ‘business as usual’.”

Rhodes is a top destination for the Greek travel and tourism market, which saw an 87.4% rise in international arrivals in 2022, with this increase set to continue this year before the wildfires hit the nation.