ECONOMY

Greek tourism threatened by various factors

Greek tourism finds itself in a difficult period due to the country’s economic instability, the immigration issue, the resumption of street riots in Athens, and the turbulence in Greek-US relations due to a new Greek bill that would pave the way for the release of a convicted terrorist.

The government’s apparent inability to handle the immigration issue is causing major concerns at tourism destinations such as the eastern Aegean islands, which have suffered from an influx of illegal immigrants and refugees.

Those with businesses in the center of Athens are worried by the hundreds of immigrants camping in central squares, as well as the fact that riots at demonstrations have resumed.

The tourism flow from the US had been expected to reach a new record this year, but the clouds gathering over the previously good relationship between Athens and Washington have put that at risk, too. This comes as the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) reported a 26 percent annual decline in bookings from Germany in March and a drop in Greece’s market share among British tourists.

Another factor causing concern is local authorities’ possible inability to respond to their basic obligations to serve increased needs when the tourism season reaches its peak, due to the forced submission of cash reserves to the Bank of Greece.