Travel to Greece: Should holidaymakers be anxious?

Advice for those travelling to Greece

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Many concerned prospective holidaymakers have got in touch this week as Greece’s financial crisis deepens. A worrying time for the Greeks – but should holidaymakers worry?

Q My wife and I are travelling to Zante for a two-week holiday on 30 June, the same day as the Greece euro deadline. What is the worst that could happen while we are there regarding the euro?

Ian Graves

A Early July is a great time to be in the Ionian islands, with the sun shining, the Med warming and the August crowds yet to arrive. While the coming days and weeks will be stressful for many Greek people, who have already endured austerity measures, the vast majority of tourists will be unaffected. Take enough euros in cash to cover your likely expenditure, just in case the taramasalata hits the fan while you are in Greece. Even if Greece leaves the single currency in a hurry, traders will continue to accept euros.

At present there is no problem using debit cards at Greek ATMs. But it would be risky to rely on plastic, since there is a theoretical possibility that ATMs could run out of cash or be switched off. If Greece leaves the single currency in a hurry, traders will gladly accept euros.

Corfu 064.jpgQ My family and I are booked to fly out to Corfu on 12 July to our favourite resort of Agios Georgios South. Should we be concerned with the fact that Greece is reportedly on the edge of an abyss? We book directly with the owner for accommodation so that should be fine but will we see airlines simply refuse to fly there out of concerns of fuel, air-traffic control fees etc?

Stuart Rolls

A No. The airlines are looking forward to a profitable summer flying between the UK and Greece. In the event of aviation fuel shortages, airlines would ¬simply “tanker” in fuel, ie load enough in Britain for the return trip.  And given Greece’s dependence on tourism – and earnings from overflying rights – it is most unlikely that air-traffic control would be hit.

Q If, as is very likely, Greece leaves the EU, do you think I will have to get a visa for my usual independent holiday in September 2015?

Stuart Humphreys

A No. While Greece may possibly exit the ¬single currency suddenly, any departure from the EU would take a lot longer. Even then there is no likelihood that Europeans would be subject to visa rules.

Q I have a villa holiday booked in Cyprus from 24 June for two weeks, but I am starting to worry about the Greek government defaulting on their debt and what effect that will have on tourists?

Jim Mullarkey

A The economic effects of a Greek default would ripple through the EU, affecting all member countries to some extent, but holidaymakers are unlikely to be affected this summer. Even if some form of “contagion” spreads to Cyprus, carrying cash in euros is the only precaution you might want to consider.

Q I am looking at booking a holiday to the Sani Resort in Greece for next year. With the possible exit from the eurozone would you recommend waiting to book 2016 travel to Greece?

Michaela Tomkins

A Yes, because if Greece were to leave the euro then prices of many goods and services relative to sterling are likely to be significantly lower – some economists speculate about a 40 per cent devaluation. Therefore committing now to a rate in euros may mean you pay more than you need.