Britain starts campaign to tame young tourists in Greece

Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:51pm EDT
 
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ATHENS (Reuters) - Britain has launched a campaign to urge young British holidaymakers in Greece to stay out of alcohol-related trouble, a British foreign office minister said on Wednesday.

Chris Bryant, who visited Greece to promote the foreign office's campaign "another side to paradise," said the British government wanted young Britons to return home safe.

"We want to do everything we possibly can to make sure those young people take sensible precautions, don't go over the top and come back in one piece," he said after meeting Greek officials.

Britons account for a fifth of the 15 million tourists visiting Greece every year, one of Europe's biggest tourism destinations. But some have gained notoriety for drunken, indecent, and sometimes violent behavior.

Tourists aged between 16 and 20 account for more than 70 percent of Britain's consular cases in Greece, even though they represent just a third of all the Britons on holiday in the Mediterranean country, British foreign office data show.

Leaflets and business cards that read "Don't get spiked, keep an eye on your drink" and "If you drink too much, things can get out of hand" will be handed this summer to young Britons traveling to Greece.

Bryant said talks with Greek deputy interior minister Christos Markogiannakis focused on measures against adulteration of alcohol and more police on the streets of Greece's popular coastal resorts.

British and Greek police officials will meet next week on the island of Zakynthos to discuss a common strategy, Markogiannakis said.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou)