With the news out of Greece of the country’s financial woes, it would seem that the Greek tourism industry, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country’s GDP, would be taking advantage of the situation. It’s a win-win proposition for both tourists and Greece; a Greek vacation is significantly cheaper than usual, and more tourists means more money coming into the country. For Americans, they also have the advantage of a better than usual good U.S. dollar to euro exchange rate. For example, the average round-trip airfare to Athens from the U.S. is roughly $250 cheaper this year than last, according to TripAdvisor.
While most summer vacations to Greece are already booked, there are still only a few places where they are encouraging travel to Greece with specials. The Greek airline, Aegean Air, is one, promoting a 40%-off sale. This airline was recently named (based just on passenger votes) best regional airline in Europe for the fifth consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015.
Shop Latitude, a fashion and travel e-commerce site for women, is featuring a "Magical Mykonos Sweepstakes." for a trip to Greece that has been running since the end of June, through run through July 14.
Also, during this crisis, Orbitz has touted Greece as “a world of destinations” and German airline Lufthansa is featuring Athens as its “Destination of the week”. https://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/top-offers
The Greek National Tourist Board (http://www.visitgreece.gr/) is reassuring tourists that their credit cards and bankcards will work normally. A letter to tourists on their site under “Things to Know before Traveling to Greece” says, “All visitors to Greece and anyone with a credit/debit card issued in a foreign country will not be affected by the measures to limit bank withdrawals.
Perhaps the Greek tourism industry is missing the boat in not promoting travel to the country more heavily at this time. Or perhaps their just waiting to see how everything plays out. Summer bookings are still robust, but it remains to be seen whether tourism will remain strong if the debt crisis is not solved soon and the economic situation in the country gets worse.
Is this the year for your Greek vacation? Keep an eye out for deals. And if you’re already planning a trip there, here’s some advice many tourist sites are giving: Bring extra cash and store your euros in a hotel safe!