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Greece offers compensation to stranded tourists

Greece has offered to pay a maximum of 100 euros ($126) to tourists stranded by strikes that have regularly paralysed the country as it battles an unprecedented debt crisis.

A bill tabled by the Greek culture ministry on Tuesday gives 50 euros for a maximum of two days to each tourist resident abroad "proven" to be unable to take "scheduled" transport to leave the country.
 
The sum, barely enough for two meals, is expected to cover daily room and board but is mainly designed as a fall-back measure if other parties involved such as travel agencies fail to provide compensation.
 
Greece in June promised to compensate tourists after successive strike and protest waves against the government's debt-dictated austerity measures threatened to sink the country's vital travel season.
 
Tourism generates about 17 percent of Greece's gross domestic product.
 
The offer had appeared more generous at the time, with Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos pledging "to guarantee any extra cost any visitor incurs in Greece because of a strike or a natural disaster."
 
The proposed law also covers natural disasters but makes no mention of trips to internal destinations such as Greece's popular holiday islands which are also routinely disrupted by strikes.
 
The ministry could not specify Wednesday when the bill would be put to a vote.
 
New legislation can take weeks to be approved by parliament but the proposed measure is retroactive to June 28.
 
It covers the three-month period to September 30.
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