A blow hit the Greek tourism at time when predictions were talking of double-digit increase of arrivals. The blow came from the incidents and riots of last week and resulted into cancellations by Greece holidaymakers. “The images of destruction, violence and lawlessness in the downtown Athens, and especially the international vilification with the evacuation of Hotel King George, went round the world and “froze” thousands of foreigners who wanted to visit our country” writes Greek daily Imerisia. The daily stresses “that the first disastrous consequences for the only hope for Greece to recover financially, came just a few days after the dissolution of Athens by masked and police.
At the beginning of the summer season the bookings are 100,000 per day. “However we see a decline of 10-20% in hotel bookings depending on the tourist area and this decline comes after the events in Athens” Chairman of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, told Imerisia.
Especially the decline of bookings in Athens seems significantly dramatic with the clouds of tear gas having mutated into a storm of cancellation. 8,000 tourists cancelled their booking in 20 Athens hotels within 5 days.
Last weeks riots and violence in downtown Athens hit the tourism industry right in the heart . The clouds of tear gas even the footage showing police forces driving through tables with dinning tourists in Monastiraki district under the Acropolis , scared quite some Greece holidaymakers. “20 Athens hotels had a total of 8,000 cancellations within 5 days”, said Yiannis Retsos, President of Athens Hotels Association, in a press conference.
“Is Greece a safe destination?” That’s what our customers ask us daily, customers who want to spend their vacations in Greece and the Greek islands” said Tim Ananiadis, General manager of noble hotel Grand Bretagne right next to Syntagma Square. The place that was turned into a battle field last week with crowds of peaceful protesters, rioting youth and violent policemen.
“Bookings started strong this year with a +5% in arrivals and 1.60% in revenues. However we experience a sharp drop after the incidents of June 28 and 29th,’ stressed Yiannis Retsos.
The problem concerns not only the Athens hotels but also those in the periphery. Athens hoteliers experienced also a storm of cancellation sin the field of congress tourism, planned for next year.
Athens hoteliers demand a series of measures for the Athens hotels, among them to be freed from paying to the state the 12% VAT, reduction in social contribution etc etc.
However the measures demanded by the Association of Greek tourism Enterprises are more realistic and have a brighter effect: An immediate Moratorium to avoid new incidents and riots!