Motoring club ADAC reports Germans staying at home, avoiding Greece and Turkey | News | DW | 14.08.2016
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Motoring club ADAC reports Germans staying at home, avoiding Greece and Turkey

Vacation traffic jams across Germany, Austria and into Italy indicate that Germans have decided to spend summer closer to home according to the ADAC motoring club. On the losing side are Turkey and Greece.

ADAC spokesman Jochen Oesterle said an unusually large volume of German motorists caught in tailbacks into Austria and Italy's northern Lombardy region were clear signs that they were avoiding Turkey, previously a popular destination.

"That the German vacation traffic clogs up so heavily in upper Italy … that's not what I have observed for a long time," Oesterle told the German news agency DPA on Sunday.

"Many of those who are now driving to Italy would have flown previously to Turkey," he said, referring to anxieties over recent terror attacks in Turkey and post-coup tensions.

Numerous road works were also causing delays across Europe, Oesterle added.

Germany registered hundreds of tailbacks, some more than 20 kilometers (13 miles) long, also along its popular North Sea and Baltic Sea coastlines, around Hamburg and north of Berlin, over the weekend.

Tunnel blocked on Austria's A9

Austria was coping late Sunday with traffic congestion on the outskirts of Vienna and Graz and one tunnel was blocked because of a vehicle fire on its key north-south A9 motorway alpine route leading to Slovenia.

Repair work inside the eight-kilometer-long Gleinalm Tunnel was not expected to be carried out until Monday.

Drivers also faced lengthy delays around Salzburg and into Bavaria in Germany.

Dramatic falloffs too in Greece

Austria's "Der Standard" newspaper said Greece's islands, which have seen significant arrivals of asylum seekers heading to Europe via the Balkans, faced a dramatic reduction in tourist numbers.

It cited the case of Lesbos, where summer-time café tables have been reported to be standing empty.

Tourism on Lesbos had dropped a dramatic 60 percent, "Der Standard" said. Greeks were absent because of their own economic crisis and weekly, incoming foreign charter flights had been reduced by two-thirds - from 35 to 12.

In contrast to last year's arrivals of migrants by boat, Greek authorities have managed to take refugees to initial assistance facilities well inland.

"For the tourists, from that point of time the refugees were no longer visible. However, the island had already lost its reputation," according to "Der Standard."

On Friday, Greece's minister in charge of migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, told Radio Vima that a start had been made in ferrying migrants stranded on the Aegean islands to the mainland. The move was to reduce pressure on overcrowded camps.

Since March, a fragile EU-Turkish deal has been in place, requiring new arrivals to be returned from the islands to Turkey, with the EU promising to accept those formally entitled to refugee status directly from Turkish camps.

ipj/jm (dpa, AFP)

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