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Migration in the Mediterranean


Clients often ask us how they might help people migrating through Europe, or indeed how their holiday in our villas and destinations might be affected this year by the current flow of people travelling from Africa and the Middle East to Europe.

With regards to the first question, there are many charitable organisations providing assistance to those in need and The Thinking Traveller has made donations to both the Italian Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontières, both of which have been tirelessly helping individuals and families get through this unimaginably difficult chapter in their lives.

As for the second question, our answer is that it won’t have any affect at all, just as it didn’t in previous years. Here’s why for each of our destinations:

Greece: the main sea routes for migration are across the very short straights from the Turkish mainland to the Greek islands just off Turkey’s Western coast. The Greek islands most in the news have been Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Samos, though several smaller islands have been affected too. The Sporades (in the northwestern Aegean) and the Ionian Islands (on the other side of the Greek mainland altogether) have not been affected at all by migrants. Quite simply, no migrants have arrived there, or are likely to arrive there, because they are not “en-route”.

Italy: migration from North Africa across the "Sicilian Channel" has actually decreased over the past few years. Indeed, for the first five months of 2018. there has been a 83.92%* decrease in the number of migrants arriving in Sicily from North Africa compared to the same period in 2017 (*official statistics of the Italian government's Department of Public Security). A large proportion of migrants attempting to get from North Africa to Italy are taken in fishing boats to the nearest Italian Island, Lampedusa, which is closer to Tunisia than it is to Sicily. From there they are transferred to welcoming facilities all over Italy. Some boats are escorted to ports in Sicily and Puglia where the migrants are passed on to the welcoming facilities.

The places in Europe you are most likely to come across migrants are the major railway stations on the routes to Germany and the north, and other places where large groups congregate, such as Calais.

Many of us live and work in the regions in which we operate, all of us know them well, and we have thought carefully and deeply about various possible scenarios. Not one of our thousands of clients in Sicily, Puglia, Greece or Corsica have been affected in any way by migration and we have no reason to expect that 2018 will be any different. 

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