German tourists turn their back on Greece

German tourists will be in short supply in Greece this summer as less than one percent have made plans to visit the debt-hit country this season, according to a report released Wednesday in Hamburg.

Only 0.8 percent of respondents said they intend to visit Greece this year, Ulrich Reinhardt of the Foundation for Future Studies who carried out the study, told Deutsche Welle .

In 2012 the percentage of Germans who spend their holidays in Greece was 1.7 percent, Reingardt said. In 2009, before the debt crisis broke out, the figure was 3.3 percent he said.

Greece’s tourism industry, crucial to its ailing economy, has been hit hard by political turmoil and economic uncertainty. German tourists are put off by reports of anti-German sentiment in some places and television images of strikes and anti-austerity riots, tour operators have said.

Greece’s “image problem,” Reinhardt said, is driving tourists to alternative tourism destinations such as Turkey, Italy and Spain.

“Greeks must make it clear to the Germans that they are welcome in the country. It is very important that there is less news about strikes in Greece and more positive reports about the economy,” he said.

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