Switch on the news any time in the last few months and you’re virtually guaranteed to find at least one story about the Greek financial crisis. Whether the headline story was civil unrest in Athens, the rising unemployment or the vote to leave the Euro zone, the news from Greece this year has been almost exclusively negative.
As summer holiday season is now upon us an increasing number of concerned holiday-makers have been wondering whether or not they should visit Greece, and if so how should they prepare themselves appropriately.
Now, however, it seems that there may be a glimmer of hope for Greece. In many ways a series of seemingly isolated situations have compounded, actually causing Greek tourism to see an increase in recent weeks. According to the Greek tourism board, bookings are actually up 2% – quite an impressive feat for a country in such turmoil.
So what has led to this surprise surge in Greek holiday bookings?
Well firstly of course Greece has always been a popular European travel destination. With its ancient history, white sandy beaches and reliable weather tourists are almost guaranteed their annual quota of sunshine. Greece offers reliable holidays at reasonable prices which is a heady combination for holiday-makers.
While civil unrest in and around major cities has caused concern, many experts have been quick to point out that the major tourist resort areas are largely without problems, and that safety is just as it always has been. Many of the Greek islands have experienced no major problems and tourists are returning fully satisfied with their well-earned break.
Then there’s the currency. As concerns over Greece’s debt payments mounted, so Greece became ever cheaper for tourists. Furthermore, while visitors were seeking advice on what would happen if Greece left the EU while they were on holiday, the latest agreed bailout largely eliminates this risk.
Finally, after the shocking events in Tunisia early last month most package holidays to the country have been cancelled. This created a dearth of holiday-makers looking for a bargain but with nowhere to spend their precious two weeks in the sun.
It seems that many of these unspent tourist dollars are now flowing freely and willingly into Greece, where vacationers from around the world are set to enjoy a low cost holiday in the sun.
Quite how these tourist dollars will impact the Greek economy still remains to be shown. Hopefully this influx of money will help to support the government to continue repairing essential public services and to start creating new employment opportunities for the Greek population.