With a great media furore surrounding Greece’s current economic situation, it is almost impossible to mention the country in any capacity without touching on the situation – tourism is no exception.
Yet despite the newly-formed Syriza government’s strained relationship with Germany and the EU, Greece’s buoyant tourism industry continues to flourish and is likely to do so throughout 2015, whatever the outcome of negotiations regarding the country’s debt that are presently ongoing.
Christina Kalogera, director of the Greek National Tourism Organization's UK arm, recently told CNBC: "We are very optimistic that 2015 will be another successful year for Greek tourism as the hotel, restaurant, and bar scene is booming and we are seeing young entrepreneurs getting more actively involved with the tourism sector.
"There are new innovative products provided by hotels and multiple new restaurants and bars opening especially in Athens and Thessaloniki, so with the euro also at an 11-year low this is definitely the ideal time to visit Greece."
While it’s only natural for words like “crisis” and “uncertainty” to create some feelings of apprehension, in reality, tourism in Greece is under no real threat; one could even argue that now is as good a time as any to visit this remarkable Mediterranean nation.
Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider a trip to Greece this year.
Excellent value for money
In the early stages of 2015, the sliding value of the euro has meant that places like Greece offer tremendous value for money for British travellers due to the strength of the pound. In fact, the exchange rate between the two currencies is currently at its best rate in years.
Many believe that if Greece does leave the euro, it would depreciate further; an event that would certainly benefit British holidaymakers. Likewise, a return to the Drachma would not affect UK tourism and, if anything, would offer further value for money. In fact, the deflation of the euro has in some cases led to restaurants and hotels dropping prices further to attract tourists.
In an Independent Inside Travel Q&A, Simon Calder, a well-known travel journalist and broadcaster, said that he believes that even if the country does abandon the euro, many hotels will still quote rates and accept payment in euros in order to accommodate for visitors from the Eurozone. Although this is only speculation, it’s a likely outcome given the strength of the tourism sector and its importance to the country.
What’s more, while prices in the country have continued to fall, the quality of Greek services has risen in order to support the lucrative tourism industry that was worth 28.3 billion euros to the Greek economy last year.
Famous hospitality still evident
The Greek population has suffered through years of stringent austerity and is still facing an uncertain financial future; however, this has done nothing to take away from this friendly peoples’ famous hospitality and welcoming nature.
Tourism in Greece accounts for 19 per cent of the country’s total GDP as well as some 657,000 jobs. While other sectors could suffer from a move away from Europe, the tourism industry could well grow, and this will be something the government and the people who work in the area will be keen to maintain.
Indeed, so many people in Greece depend upon foreign tourists for their livelihood and so any travellers visiting the country can expect to receive the usual friendly welcome that the nation is renowned for. This is especially true in the Greek islands where tourism is particularly important to the locals’ way of life.
The government has changed, not the country
Greece is still the same stunning holiday destination it has always been, and no level of debt will change this. From the temperate, crystal-clear waters of the Ionian islands to the rich history of the Aegean coastline, the country continues to offer the chance to experience remarkable diversity, a vibrant culture and sensational scenery, but now at much better value.
Don’t let the headlines put you off your chance to experience the beauty of Greece firsthand in 2015.