Tourism hit hard by capital controls


Although bookings from foreign visitors appear to have rebounded following a difficult patch a few weeks ago, hoteliers claim that domestic tourism has suffered a major blow this year, largely due to the imposition of capital controls on banks.

“There are hotels on Laconia’s beach front that are empty,” Dimitris Pollalis, the head of the regional hoteliers’ association in the southern Peloponnese told Kathimerini. He said bookings in the region from domestic visitors are down by around 50 percent this year despite efforts by hoteliers to offer discounts and special offers. The losses cannot be offset by foreign arrivals, which are at satisfactory levels, because the region’s tourism sector depends to a large degree on domestic business, he said.

The head of the union of hoteliers in Magnesia, Giorgos Zafeiris, painted a similar picture. Bookings are also down in his region by 50 percent, he said. If early elections are called for the fall, he expressed fears that the glimmer of hope for an uptick in August and September will also be lost.

The head of the hotel owners’ association in Thrace, Costas Hatziconstantinou, said the situation on the island of Samothrace was “tragic,” noting that the number of Greek visitors has dropped by 80 percent since last year. The “traffic” on the island is more reminiscent of May rather than July.

The crisis has also affected Greek camping sites, the head of the country’s campsite union, Costas Papadopoulos, told Kathimerini, noting that one facility with a capacity of 300 people had only seven visitors on Friday.