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Will Greek tourism pay a high price for the country's "No"?

While tourism performances were up in Greece since the beginning of the year, the difficulties experienced by the country's banking system and the geopolitical tension are not the best publicity for travelers from around the world. Tourism in the country will come to a brutal halt, although local players are confident about their ability to make up for this loss of earnings.

Sunday, Greece's population cast its vote in a referendum on the European bailout plan aimed at putting an end to the 1.5 billion euro debt to the International Monetary Fund. The outcome of the vote was 61% NO, in response to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of believes a better agreement is possible. This vote marks a new turning point in the country's political and economic situation and brings up the question of Greece's exit from the eurozone known as "Grexit".

The referendum has clearly detrimental to the tourist industry. Travelers are currently finding themselves in a tricky situation with the closing of banks, which was to last until Sunday. This has impacted reservations: "According to data available from tour-operators, reservations in the same period last year were around 120,000 tourists per day. Since recent the call for the referendum they fell 30% to 40%, resulting in 36,000 to 48,000 fewer reservations each day. After the referendum, the country will find a normal rhythm, the banking system will resume its activities and the country's image will be restored abroad. We believe there is still time for the reservation rate to gain momentum and make up for the losses of the last few days," declared Andreas Andreadis, President of the Greek Tourism Federation SETE, last Thursday in an effort to rationalize the recent "hiccup" in the Greek crisis.

Since the beginning of the year, however, tourism had been doing well in the country. In the first five months of the year, Athens' hotels filled up more than the previous year, which was quite productive (+4 points to 59.5%). The average daily rate increased by 5.5% (to 121.90 €). This allowed the Revenue per available room to climb by 13% in the first five months of the year according to data from MKG Hospitality. 

Change in hotel performances in Athens between 2014 and 2015


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