Tourism accounts for about 15 percent of Greece’s output and one in five jobs, but an industry official has said he feared that tourism income in 2012 might be 10 to 15 percent down on last year’s 10.5 billion euros.
Greece attracted about 1.5 million extra tourists last year, due to a mixture of bargain-hunting and fears about Tunisia and Egypt. So what is putting the tourists off?
“Tourists don’t know what to expect when they come here in regards to the currency they are going to be paying with and whether the businesses and hotels – or whatever they’re coming to – are going to be bankrupt by the time they’re here. There is a little bit of scaredness in regards to that. And that affects us because the booking are down because of it,” said restaurant owner Sian Wood.
A record 16.5 million people visited Greece in 2011 and many in the industry are complaining the media is giving the wrong picture of a country on the brink of collapse, scaring the tourists away. In fact, Greece awaits them, and their money, with open arms.