OPINION

On Greek tourism, economic decline, the drachma, fuel prices

Greece can be great again

Greece is a vital part of our Western heritage. Greece can be great again when the people decide to stop making excuses and make credible legitimate and sensible choices.

I have known and befriended many outstanding Greeks in my life; however, I have come to understand that the Otoman Empire has not vanished but has been renamed as «Government» in Greece.

Volumes can be written about the antics of government officials, their flagrant incompetence, their disrespectful demeanor, their focus on lining their pockets, and their totally obstructive actions. Yes, these are the remainence of the Ottoman Empire.

If you keep the population ignorant and uneducated (let us not start on the quality of Greek education), control the media, and provide an addiction (sports), then you run the country. There are plenty of shining examples in the EU, and why haven’t the Greeks done any better?

Politics has always been a game with the Greeks, for they invented Democracy as a game for the slaves as the elite played their games of power. What has changed?

What has changed is that the rest of the world has taken lessons and improved, yet the Greeks still linger on in their dream.

You are already at the bottom. Why not start with a clean slate? Rewrite your constitution to be more reflective of an orderly, law-abiding society that wants to contribute to the betterment of Greece.

I know more non-Greeks that love Greece a hell of a lot more that Greeks do themselves. Why is that? Your educations system breeds cheats and is ineffective. You have brilliant students that might know the theory but cannot put it into practice.

People are encouraged to cheat, steal, and give false information, Why? Your system is set up for crooks to prosper and good people to suffer.

Every Greek wants to enter politics. Why? Because that is where you can scam your heart out and build villas and make a fortune.

Start anew and build the Greece that the world deserves.

Thank you

J. Garland

Greek tourism, return of hydroplanes etc

We hear it time and again from our esteemed and experienced politicians: words, words and no deeds. Protecting tourism? Where? Dumps around the country, massive bureaucracy in the civil service, never mind the corruption, the tax system… another disaster. How can anyone invest in Greece without losing their minds from frustration and eventual bankruptcy?

Bringing back the hydroplanes…. What next? The Titanic?

Greek politicians don’t cut salaries for employees of their companies, don’t worry about how they’re going to pay their staff as the private sector does, they just pass another stupid law, blackmail private enterprise with things like ”peraiosi” and ”pay” the civil servants who work so hard….

No one should invest in Greece, particularly Greeks from the diaspora. They need to talk to those of us who came back to invest with a sense of patriotism, only to be abused by the system, cheated, lied to, blackmailed etc. Greece does not deserve investment and should be punished, starting with the politicians. They created this mess, and now expect the public to bail them out! They should be put in prison, as they have robbed this country, and should be brought to justice. Why have EU partners not taken action yet? Where is the EU Justice Ministry?

Angelos T.

Re: Economic decline and tourism

Dear Ange Kenos,

While we are all concerned about the current state of the Greek economy, and I am the first one who will tell you that the country has much more potential in tourism, I must respond that your assertions about Greece’s «tourism decline» are a bit hyperbolic.

You stated that you «just received a report on the top 25 tourist destinations», and were appalled that Greece did not make the list. You then claimed, for reasons of comparison, that «Italy has two spots» and «the USA has several.” I think you were trying to convey that Italy and the USA are both within the top 5 most popular nations with tourists. (Italy, however, has been gradually sliding down this list over the past 10-20 years, losing ground to the USA, China, and Spain.)

As you glanced over this «report» that you «just received» (i.e. information that’s been available for several years — and for free — from the UNWTO, and can be seen elsewhere, such as on the Wikipedia website), you erroneously compared Greece to Italy and the USA, which are much larger countries. You failed to consider that, relative to the country’s size, Greece is still much more popular than Italy and the United States.

In fact, Greece compares very favourably to other countries of comparable size; Greece is ahead of Portugal and Switzerland, and slightly behind Austria. You’re also overlooking the phenomenal fact that Greece receives almost as many tourists as some much larger countries (Canada, Turkey and Mexico) and far more tourists even than Brazil (which is much larger than Greece).

Additionally, you seem unaware of the phenomenal growth of Greece’s tourism industry over the past 10-20 years. International arrivals as recently as 1997 were 10 million. They had reached 17.5 million by 2007. That’s a 75% jump in only a decade. These statistics are available — again, for free — at www.statistics.gr. And while you may be inclined to disbelieve these figures with all the «book-cooking» that’s been going on, the reality is that this massive growth in the tourism industry has very much been felt on the ground in Greece. Had it not been for the global economic crisis in 2008-09, and the strikes that crippled Greece’s airports, ports, and roads in 2010, we’d be looking at a 20-million figure right now, which at this point may very well be reached within the next 5 years.

I’m not trying to gloss over further areas for improvement. Greece, once a land of cheap sun and booze for northern Europeans, is now an expensive destination, and prices cannot be reduced much. Which means that we’ll need to give tourists back more bang for their buck (meaning we need to offer more than just beaches, such as culture, architecture, attractive needless to say the girls are not Greek and do not see any part of the tips left by the tourists. No receipts are given. I am sure that my friend is just one of many thousand cafe owners operating in this way.

How the government will benefit from this increase in tourism is a mystery to me. Most of the tourists are on all-inclusive holidays with the foreign travel companies paying very low rates to the hotels ensuring that most of the money the tourists spend stays outside Greece.

The seat belt and crash helmet laws are not enforced, resulting in more loss of income.

I have no idea how this economical crisis will end. Any ideas?

A.K. Stott

Iraklio

Crete

The drachma

Since its entry into the eurozone in 2001, Greece has been drifting on the powerful currents of the river euro to its downfall. The river cannot be turned back! Here and now Greece should exit the euro and return to the calm waters of its drachma. After all, the drachma was first used by the ancient Greeks. The drachma has carried Greece on its peaceful waters, with excessive love and forgiveness, over the centuries. The modern-era Greeks had better listen to their wise ancestors and not to the euro sirens which have now turned into the Scylla and Charibdys of the IMF and the Eurofin Group.

George Georgellis

Fuel prices

As a frequent holidaymaker to Sissi (Crete), I feel so much for my good Greek friends there. I thought fuel prices were high in the UK but yours are horrendous, I feel so much for my friends in Sissi who struggle so much to make a living.

Linda Hall

Durham

UK