Greek holidays and the eurozone
Archimedes: June 2012
Greek holidays and the eurozone vote.
So, the Greek voters finally backed away from the abyss that loomed with a Greek exit from the euro. For those planning a Greek island holiday the news will come as a relief. True, a euro 'Grexit' could have triggered a collapse in the new drachma and cheaper holidays in Greece, but it would have been hard to relax on holiday in a country in such economic turmoil.
So what does the Greek pro-bailout vote mean for the Greek Island holidaymaker? Well, not that much it seems.
Prices have plunged for Greek island holidays in recent weeks as hotel owners have struggled to fill empty rooms. A collapse in the domestic tourism market and the on-going war of words with Germany has had a major impact on the Greek holiday market.
The narrow election victory for the pro-Europe parties will mean more of the same for Greeks — more austerity, more unemployment, higher taxes, lower pensions and a slow and painful recovery as they pay off their huge national debt. It also means continuing cheap holiday deals for us.
Those Brits booking Greek Island holidays this year have already noticed the effects. Prices on package tour deals have dropped sharply and taverna charges, that once looked as though they would soar, have been put on hold. That certainly looks set to continue.
Unlike the mainland, the island have not suffered the street protests and violence which engulfed the capital of Athens. The shops and tavernas still have plenty of customers but there are noticeably more empty chairs.
Some shops and pharmacies remain closed, presumably gone bust as the recession bites for the fifth year in Greece. The fear now is that neither New Democracy or Pasok will take on the challenge of closing down loss-making government companies or cutting the numbers and wages of public sector workers.
It remains to be seen if Europe relaxes the austerity measures in a bid to kick-start growth in the Greek economy. For the time being, Greek voters have saved your holiday plans but non-one can pretend this is an end to the problems.
However, a Greek Island holiday still gets my vote. I am off to the island of Thassos next week and I will report back direct on the aftermath of the Greek euro vote and the effect it is having on the holiday resorts of Greece.