Greek holiday euros look safe
Archimedes: May 2012
Greek Island holiday euros look safe.
Greek holiday euros may face an uncertain future if Greece quits the eurozone but it could leave Brits on holiday in the Greek Islands much better off this summer. If Greece does dump the euro, it is highly likely that those on holiday in the Greek Islands this summer will be able to cash in on the economic gloom.
Holiday-makers in Greece can expect prices to tumble and their euros to keep their value following a Greek eurozone exit. They could end up paying much less for restaurants, drinks, taxis and hotel rooms.
But they will only get the benefit if they have not converted cash into any new currency issued by Greek banks. The savvy Greek Island traveller will carry euros in small denominations or barter with British sterling to get the best holiday deals.
Concern that euros currently issued by Greek banks — those with a letter 'Y' in the eleven digit serial number on the back — will become worthless on a Greek eurozone exit has been dismissed as an 'urban myth'.
British banks have ridiculed the notion that a Greek-printed euro could be worth less that one printed in Germany. The travel watchdog ABTA also insists 'a euro is a euro wherever it is printed'
So, while a Greek exit from the eurozone, could hit Greeks very hard, it means that Greek Island visitors are likely to get much better holiday deals this year.
Exchange rates for euros are currently the best since 2008, although holiday-makers could hold out for an even better rates later this summer. The canny traveller will anyway low only denomination euro notes to Greece. Any 'change' handed over in a new Greek currency could devalue very quickly.
Euros loaded onto pre-paid money cards can also be a good option. They will keep their value shops and restaurants and cash from ATMs should give you a favourable exchange rate. But note that, in the event of a sudden eurozone exit by Greece, banks might close their doors and cash machines could get turned off for several days.
Meanwhile Greek Island holiday prices continue to fall as hotel owners are forced to slash prices in 2012. The domestic holiday market has collapsed leaving many hotels with empty rooms.
The Greek tourist industry started on a high note after a 9% rise in bookings in 2011. But three months of street riots in Athens, ferry and airport strikes and civil unrest over strict conditions for a Greek cash bailout has seen bookings in 2012 dry up.
It's not just the British who are staying away; German visitors have fallen 30% as they are blamed by Greeks for the tough bailout conditions. But British travel experts insist there is no reason not to enjoy a Greek Island holiday this summer. The vast majority of holiday-makers fly direct to the islands where there has been no unrest.
Holiday package tour operators Thomson and First Choice said their holiday visitors to Greece should not be affected by the economic turmoil. A company statement said: "Greece has long been a popular destination for our customers and we anticipate that it will remain so . . . Although there has been a lot of media attention on Greece this week, calls from customers enquiring about their holidays there, have been minimal and sales have not been impacted. We remain confident that our customers will have a fantastic holiday in Greece with us."
The Greeks are famously hospitable and are now even more keen to dispell the negative image given out by street riots in the capital city of Athens. Travel companies have reported no problems from holiday-makers this year and do not expect any.
Indeed, problems with the euro and Greece's debt problems are likely to make prices much more competitive that in recent years and now could be a good time for holiday-makers to pick up a Greek Island holiday bargain.