(Daily Mail) Greece’s financial instability shouldn’t discourage British potential visitors to the troubled nation – in fact, the weak Euro could make those travelling on the pound big winners this peak season.
Around two million Brits visit Greece each year, the most of any country, with May to September accounting for about 75 per cent of Greece’s tourism, an industry that accounts for almost 20 per cent of its gross domestic product.
But warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and finance experts have encouraged travellers to choose elsewhere due to the risks of being caught in the midst of protests as the financial crisis heightens or if ATMs stop issuing euros and leave visitors short of money.
With the right precautions though, Brits could stretch their strong pound even further with the exchange rate at its highest in seven years, says Caxton FX currency analyst Nicholas Ebisch.
‘The FCO issuing a warning that it is risky to go to Greece could also deter people from travelling to the country, which means that resorts could be emptier and feel a little more private from the lack of people,’ Ebisch told MailOnline.
‘There could be no more waiting in the buffet line if things keep getting worse for Greece.’
Greece is at serious risk of crashing out of the euro altogether if a bailout isn’t agreed soon with creditors, and the nation’s finance minister said that the country is a fortnight from bankruptcy.
The FCO has told Brits to not rely on only cards for money and to have enough money to cover emergencies or delays.
‘British citizens travelling to Greece should take cash and exercise caution when travelling, as there have been warnings of Greek banks potentially refusing to issue euros if the country is drawing near to a default on their loan repayments,’ Ebisch warned.
‘If Greece does default on its loans and exit the Eurozone, the repercussions are largely unknown for the government, businesses, and consumers, and the euro would very likely weaken significantly as a result.
‘A Greek default and a weaker euro means that your pound would go even further than it already does, effectively lowering the cost of your holiday.’
Ebisch adds visitors should plan a trip to Athens a day or two ahead of their departure as a precaution in case of sudden protests or other problems causing delays.
Despite debate raging in Europe and the financial implications immense for Greeks especially, Brits are largely oblivious to the crisis with 37 per cent saying they don’t know what is happening with the Euro and 29 per cent saying they didn’t care, according to a survey by Caxton FX.
Only a third (31 per cent) of those surveyed thought now was an ideal time to go to Greece due to the country being affordable while 11 per cent of people didn’t think the strength of the Euro would be affected by the disputes happening within the Eurozone.
A mere 13 per cent of respondents say they’ve taken advantage of the weak Euro and booked more holidays in Europe this year.
Travelex travel money expert David Swann it’s best to be prepared for all scenarios and make contingency plans before you leave the UK.
‘No one knows for sure what’s going to happen in Greece,’ he says.
‘Plan before you go. Monitor the situation in Greece by keeping a close eye on the Greek National Tourism Organisation’s website and by following the travel advice from the UK Government
‘We always recommend that travellers take a mixed wallet of cash and cards (such as a Travelex Cash Passport). Because of the uncertainty around the future availability of Euros in Greece our advice is to take enough cash to last you 3-4 days.’
As far as the Greek National Tourism Organisation in the UK and Ireland is concerned, there is no drama to speak of.
‘Summer 2015 has already got off to a great start in Greece and we are looking forward to a successful season offering great value and a fantastic experience to many UK holidaymakers,’ a GNTO spokeswoman told MailOnline.
More than half of the British population, 34.6 million, are planning one or more European holidays this year.