With Greece featuring so strongly in the news recently, holidaymakers planning a trip to this top holiday destination are asking a lot of questions about their summer trips: Is it completely safe to travel? Will I still be able to spend my euros?
The most important point to raise first is that the Foreign Office advice on Greece has deemed the country completely safe for all travel. They are extremely strict with their decisions and set out exactly the kind of risks that currently exist. You can check-in on the website to monitor this status, and be assured that the current advice is extremely unlikely to change over the summer. Although demonstrations are taking place, they are centred around Athens and other big cities. There have been no reports of tourists coming into contact with demonstrations or unrest in any of the popular outlying holiday destinations.
On islands such as Corfu and Crete, there is very little sign that anything is amiss, and the laid back, peaceful lifestyle for which the islands are famous prevails. Signs show only in the newspaper pictures and headlines, and in the lack of maintenance of some of the main tourist attractions such as historic sites.
In fact, Greece is welcoming tourists in this difficult economic time. The industry accounts for 17% of the country's GDP, and a vast proportion of employment, particularly on the islands. The population are thus relying on the income made from tourism more than ever.
The message about money is a similar one. Don't panic! If Greece does exit the euro, and this is still very uncertain, there will be a significant transition period between the two currencies. During this time, the euro would still be accepted and in general use. If the country did switch back to drachmas before your trip, this could actually be of real benefit to travellers. Most likely, it would fall sharply against the euro, making your money go further.
The pound is currently strong, so anyone converting to euros now will get the best deal for a long while. It is advisable, though, to wait and change your money the week before you travel. That way, you will be able to take all the latest financial developments into consideration, and you may find that your pounds goes even further as the euro weakens.
Following this, there are in fact many advantages in travelling to Greece this summer. Because numbers of foreign visitors have dropped over the past few years, prices have dropped too. There are consequently an abundance of bargain flights and package deals. For several reasons, a package deal is a favourable idea. Any strikes or problems with vehicle rentals or accommodation due to business closures will then be the responsibility of the tour operator, and they will be bound to find alternatives.
It would be a real shame, both for Greece and for holidaymakers, if people were to cancel their holidays. The country is as beautiful and enticing as ever, and needs the support of tourists in this turbulent economic time.