Swedes flock to Europe’s extreme heat

Swedes flock to Europe's extreme heat
Photo: Gabriela Cooper
South eastern Europe may be sweltering in furnace-like conditions but sun-hungry Swedes are not to be put off.

“On the contrary, we’re selling holidays like never before,” said Lisa Lenneman at tour operator Ving.

In many parts of south east Europe the thermometer has broken through 40 degrees centigrade. But the massive heat wave that has paralysed many popular tourist resorts in countries such as Bulgaria and Greece appears to be something of an attraction for rain-weary Swedes.

Holiday firm Fritidsresor has around 10,000 visitors in the area and a rough estimate puts the total number of Swedish charter tourists in the affected areas at up to 30,000.

“People are so angry at the weather at home so they are longing for the heat. We’re not getting many cancellations – actually it’s the opposite effect. The more people hear about the heat wave around the Mediterranean, which is in such contrast to the Swedish weather, the more they want to travel,” said Fritidresor’s information director Lottie Knutson .

And rivals Ving are seeing the same pattern.

“In general Swedes love hot weather, and it’s absolutely not the case that travellers are ringing us up to complain about the heat. On the contrary, we’re selling more holidays then ever,” said Ving spokeswoman Lisa Lenneman.

The heat has caused hundreds of deaths but neither of the tour operators report any heat-related illnesses among their customers.

“We’re reminding our guests to drink a lot of water and to stay in the shade when it’s hottest,” explained Lisa Lenneman.

Anyone who feels that 40 degrees or more is too hot for a relaxing holiday faces the usual cancellation options. A heat wave alone is not a reason to cancel a trip, as far as the holiday firms are concerned – a medical certificate must be provided too.

“If a doctor says that the heat could mean a health risk then obviously people can cancel, but otherwise the normal rules apply,” said Lottie Knutson.