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Can tourism save the Greek economy?

Can tourism save the Greek economy?
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There is no doubt about the massive potential of the Greek tourism industry, with its ancient sites and popular islands.

Many Greeks are hoping visitors will help them get back on their feet, in a country where tourism plays an important role.

The sector represents 18 per cent of GDP and about 15 per cent of the country’s jobs. Some 90 per cent of visitors are European.

But this is a country where tax evasion is a major problem, meaning a lot of tourism is on the black market, and the official economy does not benefit.

Some experts predict cheaper holidays and more tourists, but there are also fears that scenes of social unrest and strikes could put visitors off.

At a strike-affected airport, one man said: “It’s always tourists and people who pay. It’s like that in each country, in Europe and democratic countries, but it’s not the best for us for the moment.”

A recent general strike brought the country to a virtual standstill

A young woman from Oxford in the UK said: “We were hoping to be here for two weeks on an island. We are going to Antiparos. But obviously we are not going today any more. So we are going to hang around and see what happens.”

And it seems the inconvenience could continue, with unions vowing to continue their action over austerity measures.

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