As the world watches with trepidation, Greece spirals downward. The Greek economy is in a scary position and, as you no doubt have heard, the potential global repercussions could be devastating.
But forget about that – at least for a moment – because now is actually a very smart time to travel to Greece. Certainly, Greek tourism officials will welcome you with open arms! Plenty of businesses in Greece are hurting for cash, so an influx of tourist dollars would be very much appreciated.
So, with some provisos, now is a great time to go to Greece – it isn’t crowded and prices are down. The International Business Times reports that tourism is way down. Income from tourism to Greece was down 15 percent in the first quarter, and airport arrivals dropped five percent. The good news for travelers is that hotel prices are down eight percent from a year ago.
As always, you need to be aware of what’s going on. So here are some key questions you might ask yourself if you’re considering a trip to Greece.
Q. Will there be violence in the streets?
A. There were riots earlier this year, but a repeat seems unlikely at the moment. However, even if violence does erupt over the next few weeks, it’s generally contained. As Greek travel specialist Christos Stergiou told Conde Nast Traveler, if you’re not in the ten-block area where things get feisty, you’re fine. And if you hire a Greece travel specialist they’ll be able to steer you away from trouble spots.
Q. How about the crux of the problem – money? What if I get stuck there without money because of a bank run?
A. As long as Greece remains a member of the EU, bank runs that leave the banks without cash are extremely unlikely. As you likely know, the EU has agreed to finance the Greece government and therefore supports the Greek banking system. This past weekend’s vote by the Greeks solidified Greece’s membership in the EU… at least until the EU undergoes some kind of radical change. That said, for the time being it’s wise to be sure to have cash with you in Euros so you don’t get stuck relying on an ATM card that doesn’t work.
Q. Will Greece be kicked out of the European Union, and then what happens?
A. Maybe, maybe not. That’s a big question. And if and when it happens, you probably won’t want to rush over to Greece for a week on the beach.
But right now, it might be exactly what you want to do.
Photo by billandcathy.