Greek Tourism Confederation President Andreas Andreadis discussed the impact of the crisis on Greece. Despite Greece’s extreme financial crisis, the country’s lucrative tourism industry appears to be uninterrupted, according to Andreadis.
Tourism brought in around $32.7 billion in 2014, which made up more than 17% of the country’s GDP. The industry also contributed to 9.4% of total employment, or 340,500 jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“For international people going on vacation to Greece, there’s absolutely no difficulty at the moment,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC. “Greece is always a very popular destination for Europeans and it’s a good value-for-money destination.
Although Greek citizens are limited to withdrawing only the equivalent of $67 a day from ATMs, Greece’s Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Ministry released a statement Monday saying those limits do not apply to people using foreign credit or debit cards.
“The tourists that are currently in Greece as well as those that are going to come will not be at the least affected by the latest developments and can continue to enjoy their vacations in Greece without the slightest problem,” said Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura in a statement.
Konstantinos Georgiadis, the general manager of Amphitrion Holidays, a Washington-based tour company which primarily runs trips to Greece, said none of his customers have canceled their trips as of Tuesday afternoon, though some have called asking about the financial situation.
Helle Hamilton, a travel agent in Fairfax, Va., echoed Georgiadis, saying she has seen an increase in bookings for Greece this year, but no cancelations thus far.
Additionally, major airlines have not canceled flights to Greece and cruise ships traveling to Greece have not changed their routes, as of Tuesday afternoon. Neither American nor Delta – the two big U.S. airlines that fly nonstop to Greece – had issued travel alerts related to the economic crisis as of midday Tuesday.
“We’re watching developments closely,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told USA TODAY.
American’s nonstop service between Philadelphia and Athens is seasonal and was already scheduled to end in mid-October before resuming next year.
“At this point, we do not plan to make any changes to the ATH (Athens) schedule as a result of the current economic situation,” American spokeswoman Jenna Arnold said.
British Airways – one of Europe’s busiest carriers – said it did not expect an immediate operational impact for its customers. “We are committed to continuing flights to Greece and the Greek islands,” airline spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said.