travelBulletin spoke to Halina Kubica of Sydney’s Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre to learn the effects of last year’s climate on Australian tourism in the country.
As expected, Kubica said bookings for Greece in 2015 were very strong until the end of June when capital control measures were introduced to limit the flow of money throughout the country. An ATM withdrawal limit of 60 euro per day was put in place for Greek nationals and images of snaking queues at ATM machines and expressions of desperation graced television screens and newspapers here in Australia.
“There was initial confusion about capital control and how it would affect travellers. Tourists were worried that they’d have no access to funds,” Kubica explained. She said after speaking to her clients who were travelling in the country at the time she learned they were “not affected at all” by the financial crisis and were still enjoying their holiday.
Kubica said the capital controls were only imposed on the Greek people with foreigners facing no restrictions on their bank accounts and withdrawing and spending as much as they wanted.
“Unfortunately this was not properly explained or portrayed in the Australian press and media,” she reflected.
She believes the Australian public still has some reservations about travelling to Greece but the general demand for travel to the country is still high with many hotels set to hit a record number of bookings for 2016.
“Greece expects the best year ever hence we encourage Australians to book their planned trip to Greece as soon as possible to achieve the best possible deals,” she said.
“Greece is also relatively cheaper than other European destinations hence it is a very attractive destination,” she added.
Independent guide to Greece, GreekLandscapes.com, advises people to continue visiting Greece without any fear.
“The beauty of the country has not been affected by the economic crisis. The landscape is just as beautiful as ever, the beaches just as relaxing, the sun just as warm, and the people just as wonderful (albeit a bit more pensive than previous years). All the reasons you could ever think to visit Greece are still there unchanged,” it reads.