Islanders witness the first shortages


TAGS: Tourism, Economy


Problems are growing for Greek tourism enterprises as a result of the government’s decision last week to call a referendum.

A number of Cycladic islands where a high number of international tourists are currently vacationing are already facing supply problems, especially in certain categories of food, such as meat, as well as medicines, due to the inability of local businesses to pay their foreign suppliers, according to the Cyclades Chamber of Commerce.

The latter called on the government to exhaust all options to avoid any shortages on the islands, as that would have a disastrous effect on tourism traffic.

Alternate Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura said on Thursday that since Monday there has been a coordinated effort to give priority to money being sent abroad for payment for the supplies of tourism enterprises such as hotels and restaurants, in a bid to eliminate shortages.

Hoteliers across the country are particularly concerned about the risk of finding themselves without certain food and drink supplies, and if the problem grows and solutions are not found, they say that they will be forced to shut their units down. Such a development would mean that just one year after the record season of 2014, tourism would be led to a round of layoffs and non-hirings, creating one of the worst records in the country’s history.

The Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) confirmed on Thursday that the drop in bookings has reached 30-40 percent in the last few days. This means that up to 240,000 bookings expected in the last five days have not materialized. SETE expressed hope that if after Sunday’s referendum the country reverts to normality, banks reopen and Greece’s image abroad is restored, “there will still be time for the booking rate to grow again and cover the ground lost in recent days.”