The high-speed ferry "Andros Jet" continues to service the island of Samothrace, where businesspeople said they suffered a blow at high tourist season when its "Saos II" ferry broke down and left hundreds of visitors stranded and angry for over a week.
The temporary solution provided by the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy for the Alexandroupoli-Samothrace schedule has included the ferry "Anax" as well.
But as representative of island businesses Giannis Glinias told Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio "Praktoreio" 104.9 FM, "we have a long winter and a very short (tourist) season," and the blow to the island's image and revenues is "huge".
"We are asking for immediate restoration of the transporttation, and we request that the state and the Ministry of Tourism stand by us now so we can promote the island again," Glinias said, "because normally Samothrace has another 40 days left to its season until the end of September, which appear to be lost already, at a huge financial cost." He added that cancellations due to the issue reached "as high as 90 percent," and that a campaign was ongoing to encourage visitors to come to the island. He also called for a permanent solution to the issue.
Meanwhile, Andros Jet will operate two runs each way on Saturday and Sunday, with a possibility of extension further in August, as repairs on Saos II are not complete. Anax will keep servicing the island until August 25, in collaboration with the East Macedonia-Thrace Regional authority.
In addition, Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos is in communication with the regional director to ensure the island is fully supplied, and discussing actions to develop the island and ameliorate the negative repercussions of this season's cancellations on its economy.