This year was supposed to be a record one for tourists, a much-needed boost for Greek economy. Now, the nation's ongoing crisis threatens to dampen that one bright prospect.
The Finance Ministry said Sunday June 27, that banks will be closed for six days to prevent the banking system from collapsing. While Greeks were allowed to withdraw a maximum of 60 euros daily, cardholders of foreign accounts aren’t subject to the ATM limit. Tourists in Athens, though, had to wait in the long ATM lines along with Greeks.
Greece is now facing a slew of cancellations as holidaymakers fret about shortages of cash and other essentials. According to the Greek Tourism Confederation, reservations since the referendum was announced last weekend dropped by 30% compared to the same period in 2014. Hotel cancellations have also peaked this week, with the number reaching almost 300,000 cancellations accourding to in.gr.
The Aegean islands seem to be heavily influenced by the wave of cancellations as tourists seem to prefer Spain or Turkey for their holidays.
About 22 million tourists visit Greece annually, and the tourism industry contributes about 16% of Greece’s GDP and almost 20% of its jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, making tourism a key economic sector.