Thursday, July 9, 2015

Greek crisis dampens enthusiasm of many – but not all – potential tourists

Europeans less affected by recent economic crisis more deterred by Greece’s troubles


Greek’s current economic crisis and political situation is dampening the enthusiasm for visiting the country among many new potential visitors as well as those who have visited Greece in the past five years but is simultaneously causing others to consider that this may be precisely the right time to visit.

Those findings emerged in a poll of 22,500 Europeans conducted by the travel search engine GoEuro.com. The firm polled 2,500 people in each of nine European countries seen as important tourist markets for Greece. Those included the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal. All those polled were Internet users who had traveled outside their home country at least once in the past 24 months.

Greece has historically been one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations with travelers from across the continent making tourism Greece’s number one source of income. Thanks to its ongoing troubles, residents of some European countries seemed to be deterred to a greater degree than others, the poll found.

The perception of Greece in countries such as the U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands – countries that were among the least affected by the pan-European economic crisis that began in 2008 – seemed to be more negative due to the current situation, while countries that were more deeply affected by the economic downturn appeared to have more empathy and expressed less of a negative view of Greece as a tourist destination.

Specifically, 72 percent of Germans who traveled to Greece in the last five years admitted that the financial and political situation had a negative effect on their perception of the country while Spaniards were less likely to view the situation so negatively. In fact, up to 93 percent of that country’s residents stated that the situation did not affect their perception of Greece.

Predictably, potential vacationers from the U.K., France and Germany who had visited in Greece the past five years said they are now less likely to visit the country any time soon due to the current situation, though the numbers did not align precisely with those regarding the perception of the country. While nearly three-fourths of the German tourists polled thought less of the country, only 41.4 percent said they were less likely to visit.

Other European nationalities revealed the situation would not affect plans to visit and in the case of visitors from Spain, current conditions could even motivate revisiting the country. Among Spaniards who had visited in the past five years, nearly 66 percent said they would be more likely to visit despite the country’s troubled times.

A similar pattern of negative perception was reported among travelers who have not visited Greece recently. As with previous visitors to Greece, residents of Spain, Italy and Portugal who had not visited actually seemed more attracted to the country due to the current situation.

The crisis seems to have spawned some travel bargains. For example, a search on Travelocity.com returned numerous economical options for a two-week trip to Athens (ATH), leaving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Aug. 1 and returning on Aug. 15. A package with round-trip air fare and lodging at the five-star luxury Hotel Grande Bretagne, close to Syntagma Square and Roman Agora and offering a view of the Parthenon and the Acropolis, was quoted as $3,595 per person. Tourists opting for the five-star Hilton Athens could buy a two-week package for $2,662 per person.

Should Americans or others considering a trip to Greece make special arrangements, plan on bringing plenty of euros, or take other measures? I have reached out to the Greek Tourism Board and will share their answers in an upcoming post.

And to my Greek readers, I conclude by saying ευχαριστώ (thank you) for reading and καλή τύχη (good luck).

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Graphics provided by GoEuro.com
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