Greece Votes to Remain in Euro Zone; Tourism Board Reaches Out to Travelers

athensYesterday, Greek voters gave a narrow victory in parliamentary elections to a party that had supported a bailout for the country’s failed economy. According to the New York Times, the vote was widely seen as a last chance for Greece to remain in the euro zone. Chryssanthos Petsilas, director of the Greek National Tourism Organization, told Travel Agent that the elections clearly indicate that “the majority wants to stay in the Euro, and the country will continue to do what we have to do.”

But, the story continues, the outcome is not likely to prevent a showdown between the next government and the country’s foreign creditors over the terms of a bailout agreement.

Even the most pro-Europe of Greece’s political parties, the conservative New Democracy, which came in first, has said a less austere agreement is crucial to a country with a 22 percent unemployment rate and the rising prospect of social unrest. The euro zone ministers pledged to help Greece transform its economy and said continued fiscal and structural changes were the best way to cope with its economic challenges.

As Petsilas recently told Travel Agent, tourism is Greece’s primary source of income, and the country is taking steps to keep their numbers up. The Greek National Tourism Organization has launched a new website to combat negative publicity and reassure travelers by enlisting the help of volunteers who have visited Greece. The Daily Mail is reporting that the website, TrueGreece.org, is looking for volunteers who will use their social media skills to promote the destination and share their experiences.

According to TrueGreece.org, “the ‘True Supporters’ concept is based on the belief that the best response to negative mentions and the unfavorable international climate about Greece can only be given by real people” who love the country and “are willing to reveal true facts and the positive aspects of Greece as a tourist destination.” Potential contributors can sign up at the “True Supporters” section of www.truegreece.org.

And on a positive note, Bloomberg is reporting that TUI's Chief Executive Officer Michael Frenzel said concern about extra charges for travel to Greece this summer in the event of a currency change are “unfounded,” but he recommended that travelers bring cash in case ATMs are not working.

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