As has been well publicised in recent months, Greece is facing seemingly insurmountable economic crises. The country has massive debts and its citizens are protesting daily, however with great bargains to be had on flights and accommodation such as villas to rent in Greece, the tourist industry there looks like it may be set to actually aid the economic crises.
Problems Faced by the Greece Tourist Industry in 2012
However not all commentators feel optimistic about the Greece tourist industry in 2012. According to Athens News, the beginning of the year suggests a dip in tourism should be expected compared to 2011. Things that could have a negative effect on tourism in the country this year include;
– Global economic recession
– Current bad world image of events in Greece
– Recovery of rival holiday destinations including Egypt, Tunisia and Spain
– The UK market alone had dropped its pre-reservations by 5.7% on average by November 2011
Why Greece will Likely see a Rise in Tourism in 2012
Other experts are predicting that Greece will likely see a rise in tourism in 2012. Numbers of visitors are high early in the year and set to rise a further 10% as the year goes on. Although protests and demonstrations are rife in the cities, local officials say that holiday makers are still having a great time and that hotels and holiday lettings in Greece are thriving.
Although the price of products in many shops is high as a result of the amount of failing businesses and therefore less competition, some of the ways the country has made it cheaper for tourists include;
– Abolishing levies on ferry tickets
– Abolishing landing and taking off fees that previously applied in airports outside of Athens
– A reduction of VAT from 11% to 6.5% on holiday lettings and villas to rent in Greece
– Cheap hotel rooms
Also in an attempt to attract foreign visitors, officials have lifted Visa restrictions for non-EU citizens which has meant an influx of tourists from countries like China, Turkey and India. Russian visitors are also predicted en mass, with an estimated 500,000 expected to visit this year, 50% more than in 2010. Expedia, the largest online travel agency in the world are taking bookings for holiday lettings in Greece for as much as 10 months in advance, further ahead than they have ever experienced before.
Why Tourism is Important to Greece
While the extra tourism will not cure all the woes of the country, it is believed that it will go some way to help, so the more people they can get over there and spending money the better. Tourism currently accounts for around 18% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) and accounts for one in five jobs.
Hydra, which can be seen as a microcosm for the rest of the country, has seen construction and other industries drop off in recent years. This means that unemployment has risen which leads to a great increase in the reliance of the tourist industry. The mayor of Hydra stated recently; “The municipality is faced with debts of over €3.5m – we can’t even pay our water bills.”