With Greece in the news recently regarding their position in the Euro, Professor John Fletcher, Director, International Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Research at BU discusses the effects of this on tourism with the potential of cheaper holidays.
Prof Fletcher said: ‘The economic crisis has already had a dramatic effect on tourism in Greece with the industry’s contribution to the Greek national economy falling significantly from its 2007/8 high. The current situation is a double-edged sword in that the strong £1 means that the tourist offer in Greece is more attractive than it has been for many years, not so much in terms of the cost of the packages, but in terms of the tourists’ spending once they arrive – things are currently much cheaper!
‘However, its not all olives and sunshine – first, attracting more tourists can create greater environment and social stresses without bringing in greater revenue if it attracts tourists that are spending less per head. To add to this, the civil unrest witnessed recently tends to deter tourists from travelling to places that are perceived to have an enhanced level of risk – even though the unrest tends to be confined to the urban areas rather than the tourist resorts which are well away from the protest areas – but tourists still find such events unsettling and there are alternative destinations they can go to where the perceived risks are not so high. Finally, the Euro crisis in part being driven by the turmoil in Greece can have major repercussions on the UK economy which is already hurting from the global financial crises. This means that UK tourists may travel less often in the next year or two until matters are stabilised and this could add further pressures to faltering Greek economy. The end result is that the Greek tourist industry is likely to be in for a roller coaster ride over the next few years.’