Heading to Greece

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Heightened tensions in the Hellenic Republic are unlikely to disrupt the plans of thousands of Australians jetting off for the Aegean summer, according to travel agents.“Greek bank account holders are limited to withdrawals of 60 euros a day but this does not apply to Australian bank cards.”Capital controls imposed this week by the Greek government only affect Greek bank account holders, with credit and debit card holders with Australian banks immune from the €60 limit set on daily ATM withdrawals. But the real problem may be finding ATMs with cash to dispense and visitors should be prepared for lengthy queues.Greece’s tourism ministry said on Monday that an extended ‘bank holiday’ would be in effect until at least Monday July 6.In a statement to international media the ministry added that the country had “adequate fuel supplies as well as products and services, to ensure that everyday holiday experiences of visitors will not be disrupted on the islands or in mainland Greece”.Melbourne travel agent Jaqui Preketes told Neos Kosmos that as news of the Greek government’s rejection of the creditors’ proposal spread, many people were trying to get last-minute flights to Greece to withdraw as much of their money as they could. Ms Preketes said that with visitors to Greece being advised to take more cash than usual, risks to personal security are higher. “Travellers should always maintain a sense of caution, no matter where they are.” Touchdown Tours’ managing director said one of her concerns was the effect on hotel operators and customers without pre-paid bookings.“I do worry how this inability to access cash will affect them. If a client doesn’t have a credit card and can only access limited funds from ATMs, how will they pay their hotel bill if it hasn’t been pre-paid from Australia?”With huge uncertainty about the aftermath of the referendum when tensions are likely to increase further, Ms Preketes said avoiding the centre of Athens might be advisable. “Syntagma Square is often where riots are likely begin, if they do start.” Fellow Victorian travel agent Kon Kavalakis said that with Greek Australians used to periods of anxiety in Greece, travellers heading to Athens would take it in their stride.“Concerns are there, but no one is cancelling their trip. We’ve had enquiries about the money situation, but tourists won’t have problems using their cards.“A lot have gone over in the last couple of weeks, and at the moment you can’t find a seat,” said the managing director of Grecian Tours, who will handle up to 3,000 bookings, mostly from Greek Australians over the European summer.“Given the situation as it stands, if you’re going to Greece, it’s probably good to carry more cash to cover any shortfall, but from what we’re told by our operators there it’s business as usual.”Asked what long-term impact there would be on tourism if Greece was forced to leave the eurozone, Mr Kavalakis said there could be benefits, if not for the Greek people, for overseas visitors.“There’d be a timeframe where things would be in limbo, but we’ll just have to cope with that. With the drachma being so much weaker than the Australian dollar, it would probably make holidays cheaper for Australians.”last_img

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