As foreign tourists leave Greece, Turks stay: Greek official
Yorgo Kırbaki - ATHENSOnly Turkish tourists are enjoying their holidays in Greece, although thousands of foreign tourists have left the country amid the worsening cash crisis, said the mayor of Symi Island, which is just a few miles away from the seashores of Datça in the Turkish province of Muğla.
“Many Turkish people prefer the Greek islands for their vacations. They love us. The only foreign people who are not afraid of what is happening in Greece right now are Turkish people,” said Mayor Lefteris Papakalodukas.
He said there is not any limitation on cash withdrawal at ATMs for Turkish tourists and the island’s restaurants and hotels accept payment by credit card, he said, adding that the number of Turkish tourists may increase to 10 million annually if the visa conditions are eased for Turkey.
Around 50,000 foreign tourists have canceled their hotel reservations on a daily basis since June 25, when the country announced its historic July 5 referendum, according to sector representatives. While the average rate of flight reservation cancelations is around 1 percent in normal conditions, the rate increased to 7.2 percent between June 27 and July 1. The cancelation rate rose to record high levels with 22 percent on June 30, according to sector players.
Thousands of foreign tourists have also canceled their cruise tours. Sector representatives said the cancelations on cruise tour reservations have skyrocketed to around 60 percent.
“There is serious chaos in Greece. The reservations have all been canceled. How could a Greek tourist have a holiday with just 60 euros a day? We cannot make the required daily acquisitions and offer services to foreign tourists as banks are still closed and our cash flow is quite limited. The sector will see the record low figures this year instead of reaching its 25 million tourist target for this year,” said Panayotis Bramos, head of the Hoteliers Association of Corfu, one of the most touristic Greek islands, as quoted by local media.