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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 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 last year. 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 north western 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. Although it featured highly in the media in 2015, the number of people attempting the crossing was actually less than in 2014 (source: March 2016), and the numbers in 2016 were very similar.  The vast majority of migrants trying 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 to the welcoming facilities. Sicily and Puglia do not see scenes of people arriving on beaches in dinghies.

Apart from the main arrival islands in the Dodecanese, 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. In 2016, not one of our thousands of clients in Sicily, Puglia or Greece reported this issue affecting their holidays, and we do not expect 2017 to be any different. 

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