Is it the best time to spend vacations in Greece?
Greece is going through some serious difficulties with the pressure from the eurozone countries and from the banks that have been pushing the government to take the sour pill. They want the Greece government to introduce new, strict reforms to get their finances in order. The situation is intense for the Greece banks, as most of the bank clients faced difficulty in withdrawing cash from their respective banks in Greece and abroad.
However, if you are planning or already have planned vacations in Greece, is it really the best time to spend vacations in Greece or not?
The country is going through some serious hard times. A single bad news might seem like a huge issue or the foreigners. For 3 weeks, the banks remained closed in the country and the customers were not allowed to withdraw amounts over a certain limit on a daily basis. Foreign citizens should be able to withdraw any amount of cash. However, the ATM machines might be short of bank notes and there are queues.
Most of the people are scared of the fact that they might not be able to withdraw cash in Greece and they might end up broke on their vacations. If that happens, you are actually stranded in a country and you might not be sharing a very healthy and safe neighborhood. Moreover, the credit cards might stop working and personality safety remains a huge question for few.
However, one needs to know that this is not a new chapter for a country like Greece. Most of the tourist agencies including the American ones believe that the economic will have no effect on the tourism in Greece. But, will the country be able to provide a safe heaven if the country goes into economic collapse?
Delay your trip or go on with the plan?
According to a New York food website owner, Mathews, despite what is shown in media the tourists are able to use their credit cards with no problems. The tourists are not getting affected by the prevailing economic conditions. However, he is still very sensitive on making the decision of spending his summers in Greece. Because he can carry extra cash and avoid any credit cards or ATM issues but carrying that much amount in hand is also not the wisest decision one could make.
Emmer, an owner of a medical device company, who visits Greece almost every year and speaks the local language, is also very optimistic about his trip to Greece this year.
“This year, of course, we are a bit nervous about the situation,” he said. “We will be taking sufficient cash, so we will not have to depend on ATMs. I’m mostly worried about the possibility of strikes because that is a frequent problem in Greece. Otherwise, I’m certain everything will be fine.”
But will the conditions be fine and safe? The answer to that is still, “maybe”.
According to Miga Agnos, the president of Traveline, the country is still safe and welcoming. The effects of the economic crisis are not being felt by the tourists. The Greek islands are the major attraction for the tourists in summer. She says, “There are no demonstrations on the islands. ATM lines are no longer than the ones in cities like New York or Washington and there is no shortage of supplies, food — or wonderful experiences.”
The tourism of country has always remained a major source of income the government will be looking to keep it that way. In fact, they might be looking to improve their tourism as it could play a major role in developing and gathering revenues to improve their overall flow of money in the country.
The tourism sector contributes 20% to the overall GDP of the country. It covers almost 60% of the trade balance deficit for Greece. It is responsible to the employing of 1 out of 5 residents and generates about 40 billion euros per annum for the economy.
Therefore, the government should be focusing on providing security, extra care, and interesting packages to attract more and travelers and tourists to maintain the positive income from tourism.
We believe that the tourism will not be affected much by the economic crisis. However, the only issue that we see is the riots and protest against the government of Greece. Obviously, things could get worse if the protests increase and encircle more area than now.
So, to be on the safe side, we suggest postponing your tour to Greece till the next summer. In fact, we would emphasize our readers to make sure that they travel to Greece next summer. Because, the government of Greece will emphasize on tourism and is expected to bring new packages and much better conditions and reception for the tourists next year.
Although, Greece remains relatively safe for the tourists, the security experts advice that you need to take some extra precautions this year. In recent summers, for example, one might have overlooked signing up with the State Department’s STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). It allows the local government tracking the visitors and notifying them if the country becomes unsafe. This year, with growing potential for the demonstrations and protest against the government, you should participate in the STEP. The online form to step is easily available at step.state.gov.
Our tips for traveling to Greece
Here are some of our tips that you should consider before going to Greece this summer:
Bring extra euros or prepay
To avoid the limit withdrawal from banks, you should consider traveling with some backup cash. It should not be huge, but it should be enough to cover you a two to three days, just in case you are caught in the middle of a bad situation.
These insurance policies averagely cost around $500. This insurance can get rid of a lot of worries while you’re traveling to Greece.
The AIG insurance, for instance, will cover a couple’s trip next month from the city of New York to Greece. The price ranges from around $362 to $756 which also includes coverage for a trip operator going defunct.
The British insurer, John Lewis Travel Insurance, said that it will double its coverage on the traveler’s cash in Greece for this month for its Plus as well as the Premier level of services.
Always carry a paper map
Consider buying a paper map. Mark the location that you plan on traveling to. Also encircle the nearby hospitals, police station, and your embassy or consulate. Why a paper map? Because, your mobile phones can run out of battery life or your maps applications might stop working because of bad reception at times.