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Stingy Brits and taverna tips

Greek taverna Leros

UK tourists low on the league table for tipping.

It appears Brits enjoying a Greek Island holiday come way down the league when it comes to leaving a tip on the taverna table.

An online survey has found that only 26% of holiday Brits bother to leave a tip for good service from staff serving in a Greek taverna, bar or hotel.

It is estimated that the 17.5 million tourists visiting Greece and the Greek Islands last year handed over nearly €100 million in tips and gratuities for good service, helping to shore up low wages for holiday industry staff.

But it is Americans who tip the most with more than half of them leaving an average €10 tip for tourism service industry staff.

Around 25,000 visitors to the travel website Tripadvisor answered questions on tipping habits while on holiday in Greece.

Americans topped the tipping league table with 60% happy to leave a tip for good service followed by German visitors (49%) and Brazilian tourists (33%).

Around 30% of visitors from Spain and Russia were also happy to leave a gratuity in return for good service but only just over a quarter of Brits were happy to dip into their holiday pockets.

At least they weren't as stingy as the French with only 15% leaving a tip on their Greek holiday while the Italians were worst of all with only a tight-fisted 11% prepared to pay a little extra.

Of course, tipping service staff is much more prevalent in the US where service industry workers are traditionally paid very low wages and must supplement their income with tips and gratuities.

A whopping 97% agreed that tipping staff was a good idea and many did not confine tipping to tavernas and bars but also tipped for good room service in hotels ,and handed over tips to cleaning staff and taxi drivers.

Good service was the biggest reason for leaving a tip but some visitors admitted they also left a tip out of obligation even when they though they had received bad service.

Another recent survey found tourists were spending less on average during their Greek Island holidays. Figures from the Bank of Greece showed tourist spending dropped almost two per cent to an average €604 last year with British among the those on tighter budgets.

The downward trend was in marked contrast to other Mediterranean hotspots where tourist spending is on the rise with Spain, for example, recording a 4% rise in tourist spending at an average €976.

Canadians were the biggest spenders, shelling out €1,388 while on a Greek holiday, followed by Australians (€1,369), Americans (€1,218), Russians (€989), Swiss (€961) and Austrians (€898).

The figures come from one of the best seasons for Greek Island holidays in 2013 with just under 18 million visitors to Greece, up more than 15% on 2012 figures, and with even more visitors expected this year.

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