German tourists ‘definitely’ still welcome in Greece, says German travel board

Are German tourists still welcome in crisis-battered Greece? “Definitely!” insists the travel board of Europes top economy, which nevertheless issued a few words of caution Thursday.

Protracted talks on Greece’s debt crisis may have driven up tensions with Europe’s paymaster Germany but visitors can still count on a warm reception, the German Travel Association (DRV) said.

In a statement it said was aimed at addressing the concerns of fearful German tourists, the DRV said the euro turmoil would have “no impact” on visitors.

“Are Germans welcome guests in Greece? Definitely! German holidaymakers are always welcome and their Greek hosts are grateful for any support,” it said.

“Despite isolated political campaigns against Germany in the past, German tourists do not need to fear hostility or hatred in Greece.”

As for social unrest, the travel board acknowledged that “like in other countries — including Germany — strikes and demonstrations are possible now and again”.

“Demonstrations should generally be avoided, like in any country,” it added, but said that protests were usually limited to Greece’s big cities and not the sun-kissed islands that attract hordes of German tourists each year.

“In the tourist areas, the situation has always been calm — holidaymakers there hardly notice anything from the country’s economic crisis,” it said.

“Those who take their holidays in Greece are supporting the local economy and helping to stabilise the situation,” it added.

But what if Greece should default on its loans, exit the eurozone and reintroduce the drachma? Fear not, the DRV said.

“There would only be a limited impact on holidaymakers, particularly those on package tours. Flights, hotel stays and bus transfers are bought and covered by contracts,” it said.

Around 2.5 million Germans travelled to Greece last year, a new record, the DRV said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence on tough economic reforms in exchange for aid have made her a lightning rod for protests in Greece in the past, with posters showing her in a Nazi uniform or with a Hitler moustache spotted at anti-austerity rallies.