Economic Crisis in Greece? Tourism is alive and well!
The economic crisis in Greece is a subject even those who don’t follow the news likely know about. You may be wondering why we are promoting Greece as this week’s go-to destination: Is it safe to visit? Is there still plenty to do and see? How will their economy affect my trip? The truth is very welcoming, as tourism is alive and well! If you would like to travel to Greece, here is a run down of what you can expect.
What caused the crisis?
The Greek government has a history of spending a lot more than they make, causing them to reply on external loans to keep their economy afloat. Greece joining the European Union and eventually replacing the Drachma with the Euro resulted in very low interest rates, which the overspending government took advantage of which in turn caused Greece to borrow a lot more money than they were able to repay. In 2009 the Greek government asked the European Union for help, and in return the union imposed certain requirements Greece had to meet in order to reduce their reliance on external borrowing to sustain their economy.
These requirements such as budget cuts and the fact that the Greek government is the largest employer in the country led to high levels of unemployment and skyrocketing taxes led to political turmoil and unrest that remains still today. The situation remains unstable, with protests still taking place in Athens from time to time.
Is Greece safe for tourists?
A lot of travellers have come forward with concerns over safety in Greece. It’s easy to see why, the sudden increase in unemployment and higher taxation has angered the working class citizens resulting in strikes, sit-in’s and protests. Protests usually happen around the Syntagma square in the centre of Athens, but very rarely become violent. Protests as a rule tend to stay very peaceful, but it goes without saying that as a traveller you should avoid getting involved.
Travellers are also not targets for aggression, and tourist destinations are very safe. It is in your best interest to avoid discussing politics with the locals however, as you could easily find yourself in a heated debate that can turn ugly. Stick to tourist friendly areas, and avoid protesting crowds and your Greek holiday will go off without a hitch.
What effect has the crisis had on tourism?
The crisis caused a lot of hardship for the locals, but it has been a boon for travellers. Since tourism makes up about 15% of the Greek gross domestic product, it makes sense that they would put a lot of effort into tourism. Accommodation prices have dropped significantly, the already fantastic Greek hospitality is even more welcoming and as a result of the higher gas prices, the roads are eventually traffic free with locals cutting down on all but essential driving.
While the crisis may have resulted in shorter hours at attractions and reduced public transport, there are nowhere near enough “cons” to overwhelm the “pros”: All the ancient monuments and structures are still there, the fantastical scenery and beautiful towns still look just as amazing as they have always have, and you will still have a plethora of gourmet cuisine to indulge in. Even in Athens attractions are open and relatively crowd free with a very pleasant tourist zone which includes famous sights such as the Acropolis.
So, should we travel to Greece?
Absolutely! Take advantage of the lower cost of travelling to Greece while experiencing everything you’d normally visit for, all while you are contributing to getting their economy back on it’s feet.
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