NEW YORK -- In the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked the
northern suburbs of Athens on Sept. 7, Greek tourism officials here
and tour operators to Greece reported that residents and visitors
in central Athens were mostly unaffected and that travel services
continued without disruption.
The magnitude 5.9 earthquake was centered in Menidi, 12 miles
north of the capital, toppling more than 100 buildings and taking
the lives of more than 70 people.
While more than 2,000 people in Athens were reported injured by
debris falling from buildings, the tourism infrastructure in Athens
seems to have been totally spared, said George Kouros, U.S.
director for the Greek National Tourist Organization.
"There was no damage to city hotels," he said, "and there is no
indication of any [major] damage to archaeological monuments such
as the landmark Acropolis that towers above the city."
Further, he reported that the airport is operating normally for
both international flights and domestic departures to the islands,
and no cruise departures were canceled.
"September is the high season in the Greek Islands, and
therefore most of our clients in particular and tourists in general
are out of Athens," said John Peters, president of Zeus Tours &
"We have had no cancellations of any bookings to Greece," Peters
said, "although quite naturally, we have had some calls asking if
Greece's quake was tied to the earlier earthquake in Turkey several
The Zeus Tours executive said he felt this is an unfortunate
linkage, for it "downplays the severity of the Turkish disaster,"
which killed more than 15,000 people.
Speaking from Athens, Spiros Divani, owner of the Divani hotel
group, reported that the structure and operations of the Divani
Caravel were unaffected by the earthquake and its aftermath
tremors, none of which were felt in the company's new Divani
Apollo, which opened this summer in a seaside resort area outside
After a strong earthquake in Athens in 1981, most buildings were
built and reinforced to withstand earthquakes, said the GNTO's