'Scared' German tourists 'avoiding Greece'
Published: 12 Mar 2012 14:33 GMT+01:00
"There are many Germans who are afraid to come to Greece," Pavlos Geroulanos told Greece's head of state President Carolos Papoulias after a visit last week to Berlin for the world's largest travel fair.
"They feel that, after what has happened, Greeks will not welcome them.
This is a climate that we must change," Geroulanos said.
There is palpable anger in Greece over two years of austerity imposed in return for a 2010 EU-IMF bailout of €110 billion, mostly fronted by Germany.
A number of German ministers have sparked public rancour by demanding faster reforms in Greece, which for most Greeks have translated into additional tax increases, and wage and pension cuts.
Germany is one of Greece's main sources of tourism, with around two million Germans visiting the country last year.
According to the country's main tourism association SETE, the tourism industry represents 15.7 percent of domestic output and employs 768,000 people directly and indirectly.
Last week, the association said the 2011 season had closed with a 9.46-percent increase in arrivals to 16.4 million, and a 9.5-percent rise in receipts to €10.5 billion.