Greece can’t get an even break from holidaymakers

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The Independent Online

The anti-German atmosphere in Greece during Syriza’s stand-off with Europe was one of the most unpleasant themes of the whole sorry story. It wasn’t just sections of the Greek media that demonised Berlin – remember those images of Angela Merkel as Adolf Hitler? Mainstream politicians right up to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ratcheted up the rhetoric, even demanding reparations for Nazi war crimes.

For Germans watching it all on TV, it has not made for an inviting scene. Now we’re seeing the results. TUI, the biggest holiday company in Europe, reported that Germans have held back on possibly tens of millions of euros worth of bookings to Greece over the past three months.

While the precise number is not stripped out, it’s fair to assume that the German reluctance to go to Greece will have a bigger quarterly impact on TUI than even the terror atrocity in Tunisia.

Multiply that across the whole industry and you get a pretty bleak picture developing for the Greek economy – one that, according to EU forecasts this week, will contract by 2.3 per cent this year.

It wasn’t just German families who cancelled their usual holiday plans due to the Greek crisis. Finance ministers across the eurozone have had to cut their vacations short this week to prepare for Friday’s emergency meeting on Greece’s latest austerity proposals.

TUI’s veteran boss Peter Long is optimistic that bookings to the Greek islands will bounce back in the coming months. Apparently there’s already been an improvement since the Athens administration’s climbdown.

But that will only last if the bailout deal is approved and Greece moves off the crisis map. Just think how much better the situation would have been if Syriza hadn’t rejected the identical package back in January.

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