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'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.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:19 March 12, 2012 by Tanskalainen
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John will be very upset.
15:39 March 12, 2012 by Gray62
In the last years, I have adviced several friends and family members to go to Greece for holidays, as a sign of European solidarity and because the country has so much vacational value to offer. But I won't stomp for Hellas anymore. We Germans get nothing but complaints and insults in return for our help, there is no real support for any changes in that country, and the polls show that large parts of the population have an outright hostile attitude towards us. Hey, no problem, there's a lot of holiday destonations where we are more welcome! Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Baltic nations, those are countries that have much to offer for tourists, too.

Really, I hope that the Greeks will default after the elections and exit the Eurozone. They think they have better plans for a recovery, great, they should prove that. Enough already with all that Greek brouhaha! We really have more than enough problems to be solved here in Germany, we really don't need to waste our time with fruitless efforts to help them clear up their Augias stable.
16:24 March 12, 2012 by Yavan
@Gray. From the tone of your writing one can clearly read that your words are those of a professional anti-greek whose argument is based on generalities. If all European citizens were thinking like you, Europe would be out of order.
16:51 March 12, 2012 by chantal11
@gray- i completely agree with you! With all the anti-German movements/comments in Greece, why would we want to go there. After one of the Greek papers put a picture of Merkel with the swastika arm band one... yeah i am anti-greek right now. Bring on the drachmas! Do the entire world stock market a favor!

*Don't bite the hand that feeds you*
17:24 March 12, 2012 by Yavan
@Chantal. Freedom of choice is all yours to go wherever you want. Evidently, you're taking Gray's argument a step further, transforming it into a professional anti-greek thinking-tank in the midst of the world stock market. WOW!
17:29 March 12, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ Yavan: I would like to modify the last part of your sentence: If all European citizens were thinking like the Greek people, Europe would be out of order.
18:44 March 12, 2012 by derExDeutsche
@ Peepopaapo

I would just change the sentece to : Europe is out of Order. Anybody that believes the EU is doing GREECE any favors, has been been drinking the too much of the Kool-aid. Germany is Saving Greece for the sake of saving the EU, not because Germany has any fondness of Greeks, or vice versa.
20:24 March 12, 2012 by ovalle3.14
There are many Germans afraid to go anywhere not called Mallorca.
20:31 March 12, 2012 by raandy
After all the flag burning and the nazi uniforms on the Chancellor it's not to difficult to understand. If I were German I wouldn't go there either. All the Greeks that liked Germany are already here.
21:38 March 12, 2012 by Yavan
@Paepopaapo & Raandy. I'm Canadian and going to Greece for vacation this summer. I hope I will not meet your alikes on any seashore where I'll be, nor on the hills overlooking the Aegean Sea. I'm sure though that I will meet many interesting Germans with whom I will share constructive and enriching discussions about life, the world economy and history, the banking system, bailouts, corruption, and ways to change... and many other subjects that give life a meaning. Bonne Voyage wherever you go!
22:27 March 12, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ Yavan: Dito.
22:54 March 12, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Which one of the German gutter press papers said a couple of years ago that Greece should hand over some of their islands in return for the bailout? Any wonder the Greek press respond?

The fact is Germany is only trying to save the Euro for it's own sake and doesn't care about the welfare of the rest of Europe. The alternative is a very strong D-Mark which will seriously damage Germany's imports. If Greece did not have the Euro it would be more in charge of it's own affairs and could devalue to boost exports and tourism. Same goes for Spain, Portugal and Ireland and nearly all other EU countries apart from Germany. It is a bit like the tail wagging the dog really. Germany funding loans to these countries which will be repaid with interest and also save Euro-Mark for German business. Win, Win, Win for the fatherland.
23:57 March 12, 2012 by Yavan
@Paepopaapo. By experience and through the numerous individuals I have met in my travelings, I can definitely say by now that all the Germans are not a mirror image of Ralph and Merilyn, neither all the Greeks are like Yiorgos and Maria. If Europe is to evolve into an interesting Union worth living in, this can only happen through dialogue, understanding and decision making, based on Human Rights and Responsibilities.
05:38 March 13, 2012 by melbournite
Yes, lets all reject the shallow nationalism pandered by certain media on both sides. Its just a way of diverting attention from the real cause of the problem. Greedy lending practices, speculators that destroy stability and compliant governments - in short, capitalism.
08:20 March 13, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ Berlin fuer alles:

- I think you meant "...seriously damage Germany's exports." Yes, Germany's exports would actually sink, but in my opinion not to the extend many people in here try to make us believe. It's a fact that the number of exports in Euro-countries rose about 9,5 % in the last couple of years, but many people forget that at the same time exports in non-Euro-countries rose about 8 %. That's only a slight difference. And with China, Russia, Brasil, India being on the rise the exports in these countries will even become larger in the next couple of years.

- Yes, their tourism would boom (for a moment), but at the same time imports would become extremely expensive for Greece. You always have to look at the advantages and disadvantages.

@ Yavan: I agree with you, but I fear that we need to overcome certain mentalities. A union can only work when the people are at least a bit homogenous, but maybe that will change in the future.
09:45 March 13, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Yes, I meant "seriously damage Germany's exports".

One further point. Look at Iceland who were not in the EURO. They were able to turn things around as a result by having full control of their own economy and not being forced/persuaded to consider the impact on the Eurozone by their actions.
09:50 March 13, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ Berlin fuer alles: Every country is free to leave the Eurozone.
10:33 March 13, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@peep

Yes of course. And it is very possible they will start doing so if governments stop going against the will of their electorate. The next few years will be crucial for the survival of the EURO.
10:39 March 13, 2012 by christopheuk25
I would say the Euro zone countries have screwed all it can out of the Greeks,time to let them alone,it's sinking and no matter how much phoney money you attempt to prop it up with ,it's destined to collapse,no more than a year i would think.

Next Spain ,but hey theyr'e a different kettle of fish ,they have already told the Eu don't interfere in our soveriegnty,Italy another one that will tell the EU to p##s of.

Funny how the rest of the EU countries can't stand Merkel and the little toxic troll Sarkosky his term is just about over.
11:07 March 13, 2012 by elboertjie
He who pays the piper calls the tunes.
11:20 March 13, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@elboerthie

Yes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. The payers in reality are the over taxed taxpayers in the Euro zone countries. Not Germany as you seem to be indicating. Germany is lending and making a profit whilst ensuring the Euro works for Germany with disregard for the rest of the Euro zone.
15:30 March 13, 2012 by catjones
Given the monotonous transportation strikes, you're more likely to lose money on your DL holiday than Greece.
17:07 March 14, 2012 by franconia
There was a time when Millions of us went to Greece on vacation, a few Million of them came to Germany to work , made thousands and went back to Greece to start a business or built homes. About 1/2 Million stayed in Germany. When the Germans discovered Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania etc rather than expensive Italy or Greece, the Greeks kept right on partying and loafing and not seeing the handwriting on the wall. When in 2008 the bottom dropped out of the German economy also ,and people went on vacation close by in their homeland, the Greeks all of a sudden woke up to no more money in the till.

None of you writers mentions this, none of you writers knows about the Greek tax system. ( Hardly anyone pays ) The Greek government pays several thosand people a social security, their bodies and coffins already invisible.Let them scream at the Germans behind their glasses of wine and Ouzo. I believe them when Slovakia, Slovenia , Latvia , Poland is in dire straits. They wont be, because their work ethic and mentality is not Greek.
23:56 March 19, 2012 by PierceArrow
Hello! (Guten Tag!) The EU-mandated austerity cuts are NOT the cause of Greece's deep recession. Years of government over-spending and borrowing are the cause of that recession. Even here in the USA, we now know that over-spending and borrowing by Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s were what caused a recession to become the Great Depression. FDR's New Deal was a raw deal for the USA.
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