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Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece

The Local · 4 Sep 2015, 16:09

Published: 04 Sep 2015 14:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Sep 2015 16:09 GMT+02:00

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Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. 
The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, to check in an extra back packed with their donations.
Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. 

Ving staff handing out donations in Greece. Photo: Ving
A truck carrying some of the donations has been driven to Greece, because there was not enough room on the tourist planes.
“It started with 20-25 donations per flight, but last Sunday’s aircraft to Lesbos from Copenhagen had up to 50 donations out of the 212 passengers on board,” Hallencreutz told The Local. 
She added that the demand for the offer has been greatest in Denmark. 
"The flight to Lesbos from Copenhagen is sold out for the next two Sundays - because many have chosen to travel with us to the island to help the immigrants," Hallencreutz said. 
Plenty of the tourists who don’t take an extra bag of clothes are still helping refugees. The tour companies say that a lot of their customers pack extra supplies in their own luggage and leave goods behind before heading back home for Denmark or Sweden. 
The free package offer will continue for the next three weeks, Hallencreutz said.
Story continues below…
News of the tour operator scheme's success comes as Swedish charities report a surge in donations to refugees after images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach spark debate around the world.
The attitude of Nordic tourists contrasts directly with reports in some sections of the British press, which have suggested that refugees have been inconveniencing holidaymakers in Greece.
Meanwhile security remains tight in Calais in northern France, where some tourists have also complained about having to watch migrants trying to smuggle themselves on to UK-bound trucks and trains or about long security checks at ferry ports.

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