May 18th, 2012
Tourists misled by media panic

As the EU crisis deepens, Greek tourism is heading for meltdown. Serious and misguided media reports this week have alarmed foreign travellers that they face a complete shut down of the banking system, widespread strikes and demonstrations.

This week’s national travel sections advised tourists to ‘take small notes and coins’ to see them through a week of economic confusion as the country exists the ruro and switches to the drachma. By contrast, finance experts and the FT report that no such events will take place. In fact, any exit from the euro will be ushered in an orderly and timed manner; probably over a period of months, with an interim currency in place.

This is actually good news for British who have not already booked, or have not bought euros as they will enjoy more buying power and local discounts on food, tours and accommodation. Not least, tourists who have opened this late starting season will be given an even warmer welcome.

Meanwhile, alarming TV documentaries about rioting and crime are simply scaremongering. The unrest is limited to a few small downtown areas of Athens, while the islands are totally tranquil. The same TV crews could find richer material in Tower Hamlets or Rotherham, where even the police tread carefully.

Elections or not, the Greek Ministers need to get to grips with the crisis at hand. Stemming the loss of direct flights from the USA and UK – including direct charter to Kos and Rhodes. Keeping the ferry companies afloat so that islands don’t become isolated and lose vital trade. Rallying all foreign tour operators with every support (like Sunvil) who have essentially created the tourist industry. Sponsoring the important members of the press on year round visits to all regions of Greece, and providing a modern digital image library. Opening up hospitality training academies in key cities to ensure professional standards and reverse the loss of educated young talent from Greece.