In an effort to raise awareness on the importance of road safety for tourists and tourism, Make Roads Safe Hellas (MRSH) run a study on road safety in Greece.
The study was made possible and prepared by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), Make Roads Safe Hellas, the National University of Athens, the University of Macedonia, the University of the Aegean and the Hellenic Open University.
It appears that infrastructure development and specifically road development works actually contribute to travelers being at greater risk for getting in motor vehicle crashes than local residents. Of the 1,500 international tourists surveyed 60 per cent reported dissatisfaction with the road safety conditions in Greece.
Greece has an overall worse death and injury rate that other Mediterranean destinations like Spain, Italy, Portugal and Croatia; it is also the country with the highest rate of motorcyclist fatalities.
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“Greece presents two contrasting pictures,” Evangelos Bellos, the report’s lead author and vice president of Make Roads Safe Hellas, told Forbes. It’s a prime tourism destination, hosting almost 30 million tourists per year, “and one of the worst performing countries in terms of road safety in the European Union”.
According to the research, almost one in five visitors to Greece experienced a serious safety incident on the roads. In the list, the most common occurrences were not staying in designated lanes, speeding and dangerous overtaking followed by violating red lights and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Meanwhile, two in five of those that chose to drive to Greece admitted to feeling less inclined to follow traffic rules while on holiday, and one in eight admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol. This number increased to one in five for drivers under the age of 25.
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“International Tourism and Road Safety in Greece: Findings of research on tourists’ perceptions of road safety in Greece,” was released earlier this year at the Sixth Global Meeting of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety in Chania, Crete. It was a collaboration between Make Roads Safe Hellas, the National Technical University of Athens, the University of Macedonia, the University of the Aegean, the Hellenic Open University and the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST).
“The tourism industry has paid scant attention to one of the major risks faced by tourists – road death and injury,” said Saul Billingsley, executive director of the FIA Foundation (London-based nonprofit partnered with EASST).
“Unless these risks are better recognised and addressed, the numbers of tourists killed and seriously injured will continue to rise, fuelled by growing vehicle ownership in destination countries and the expansion in tourist arrivals,” he added. “The report should be a wake-up call for the tourism industry everywhere.”