This Article is From Jul 05, 2015

Greek Tourism Industry Take a Hit Due to Debt Crisis

Tourist arrivals broke the 20 million barrier last year in a country of 10 million.

Athens: The tourism industry accounts for 18 per cent of Greece's GDP. A lifeline for the country, it employs more than 900,000 people.

Tourist arrivals broke the 20 million barrier last year in a country of 10 million.

Those in the business are confident their services will not be affected by the debt crisis and that tourists have no reason abandon them.

"The problem is between Greek government and European government. It's not between Greeks and guests from abroad," says Peter Theodoropoulos, Manager of Poseidon Athens Hotel. "There are no tensions. This is Greek spirit. I believe the Greeks are a bit crazy. Even before the battle when they know they are going to die they dance and they sing," he added.

Just eight kilometres from Athens on the Alimos beach, there's no shadow of the crisis as tourists soak the sun. Jason, 21, a student from Sydney said they were worried about questions of security but when they arrived in Athens, all seemed fine.

Charles, 21, a carpenter from Sydney said he didn't know he'd be in Athens during the referendum but in hindsight, he would not change his tickets.

But the association of Greek Tourism and Enterprises (SETE) says that during the run up to the referendum, there have been 43 per cent cancellations for online bookings in the coming months.

"This is because of misinformation" Lisandros Tsilidi, President, Association of Tour Operators of Greece told NDTV. He said few know that foreigners have no restrictions of cash withdrawal. The 60 EUR limit is only for Greek accounts.

Mr Tsilidi says the tourism sector is in good health. Arrivals have risen 45 per cent in Athens since last year and in general eight per cent up from last year.