Brits being offered free week-long holidays to Rhodes in 2024 to make up for wildfire carnage, says Greek PM | The Sun

BRITS are being offered free holidays on Rhodes in 2024 to make up for the chaos from the devastating wildfires.

More than 20,000 holidaymakers and locals were forced to flee last month as the raging inferno swept across the popular Greek holiday island.

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted the island is now "back to normal" .

And he has now offered free week-long holidays next year to anyone who was forced to cut their trip short.

Mitsotakis told ITV: "For all of those whose holidays were cut short as a result of the wildfires, the Greek government… will offer one week of free holidays on Rhodes next spring or next fall, so we make sure they come back to the island and enjoy its natural beauty."

The PM said the Greek authorities "understand it caused some inconvenience for visitors".

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Islanders are now battling to reopen hotels to get tourists back to the island – one of the main drivers of the economy.

The fierce blaze broke out on July 18 in Rhodes and quickly spread to the eastern and southern coast – an area with many beach resorts.

Greek officials said it was the biggest evacuation effort the country had ever faced.

The flames burned for nearly a week as Greece was battered by a spell of extreme heat that made it challenging to contain the blaze.

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Extraordinary scenes showed columns of holidaymakers carrying their luggage and children while trying to escape.

Fleeing Brits spent nights in makeshift camps across the island – with young kids forced to sleep on mattresses in classrooms and gyms.

New aerial images show stretches of empty beaches surrounded by miles of burned land and trees.

The fire scorched swathes of forest and made its way into villages and towns – spreading to at many hotels packed with tourists on their summer holidays.

British Embassy officials in Athens urged Brits to leave the area – with holidays and flights cancelled.

Londoner Ian Morrison was staying in the Kiotari area when he watched the sea become "black with soot" and ash was falling on people's heads.

After walking for miles and eventually hitching a ride to Gennadi beach, he told Sky News: "Over the next few hours, the amount of people in that area just increased and increased.

"Then as light fell, people became increasingly anxious about how they were going to get out from this.

"It was literally like the end of the world," he said as flames threatened to chase him down."

And Brit James Beale was on his way to his hotel with his partner when their minibus was stopped and held for almost six hours.

"The whole skyline became covered in smoke, fire engines and police blasted past and suddenly we couldn't see anything," he told The Sun.

"The driver didn't speak English and we had no idea what was happening."

They never made it to their hotel and instead slept on a sheet on the floor of a hotel as they waited for a flight out of the chaos.

Brit tourists are now being offered trauma counselling.

TUI is offering free, confidential therapy from the Centre for Crisis Psychology.

It previously provided counselling to survivors of the Tunisia beach massacre in 2015, in which 30 Brits were shot dead by a gunman.

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The email said the advice — following an “extraordinary difficult” and “distressing” few days — was “there for you to call upon”.

The company is also offering full refunds and a £250 voucher per person towards a future holiday with the firm.

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