If Strikes Delay Tourists, The Government Will Pay

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

What would your reaction be if you had planned a holiday somewhere but there was a chance of a strike disrupting your plans? Would you take no notice and still go? Would you immediately plan to holiday elsewhere? Would you still plan to go but check your travel insurance first and then decide?

Greece has decided that tourism is so valuable to its economy that it has announced that if disruption is caused by strikes or even a return of the volcanic ash problem, they will cover whatever extra costs a tourist might have to face.  The tourism minister, Pavlos Ggeroulanos, said that they (the Greek Government presumably) would guarantee to pay for any extra accommodation costs in the event of a strike. At the same time he announced a new tourism campaign to persuade us to take our holidays this year.

You will know that there have been protests, demonstrations and strikes in opposition to the cutbacks that the Greek government has announced to try and rebuild its economy. Most of this has centred on Athens but strikes at airports and ferry terminals have hindered tourists and dissuaded 300,000 Germans from going there. (see CD-Traveller 26 May) We don’t know how many Britons and Irish have decided to holiday elsewhere. Tourism hasn’t been helped by an announcement from the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist agencies that they can no longer plan travel packages because they aren’t confident they can deliver it to visitors

Will this government announcement reverse that trend?

Back in May, we said that Greece could be a bargain destination as discounting began to attract us there. Given the announcement by the government it might be doubly attractive. If the Greek government can deliver if something goes wrong. Well yesterday it did. There was a 24 hour strike at Piraeus, the port at Athens which delayed ferries so some tourists will have had to stay a night before leaving today.  A court decision that the strike was illegal was ignored by strikers. Will those inconvenienced tourists be recompensed? It is too early to tell but this will be the first test of whether the government will live up to its promise. If it does, expect an increase in interest from visitors. If it doesn’t, then visitors to Athens might decline further. Ferry bookings are down by 30%.

For the islands however, tourism is more important. Some 20% of all Greeks earn a living from tourism and hoteliers will be more anxious to protect their livelihood. If you fancy Greece and you can fly directly to the islands, Greece still looks a good bet for a holiday.

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