Our briefing on what is happening in Greece...
You may have heard that Greece is having a few money troubles. There is no need to worry about your holiday, but we thought a few tips on navigating the Greek Islands in the current climate (a balmy 29°c today by the way) wouldn't go amiss!
UPDATE - MONDAY 29/06/2015
The Greek banks are now closed for a week (until Tuesday) and so our advice remains the same. ATMs are still in operation but (as is usual with Greek Island ATMs) they haven't been refilled in a little while. So please do take out enough Euros to cover your holiday spending for the duration.
In the mircale scenario that you do find a functioning ATM (well done!) there is a €60 per day limit imposed on Greek credit and debit cards. For British cards there should be no withdrawal limit.
A statement from the Greek Press Office in London:
"The Greek government informs those visiting or about to visit Greece, that the announced measures restricting the movement of capital do not affect in any way those who wish to make transactions or ATM withdrawals using debit or credit cards issued abroad.
It should be also noted that there is ample availability of both fuel and all products and services that ensure a smooth and fun stay for the visitors in every city, region and the islands.
Greece continues to guarantee a high level of quality of services offered to visitors who have made our country a top tourist destination worldwide.
The Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura reiterates that the Greek tourism remains high in the preferences of our visitors. The tourists who are already here and those who are planning to come, will not be affected in any way by the events and will continue to enjoy their holiday in Greece with absolutely no problem."
Yorgos Dardavillas - Press Councellor for the Embassy of Greece
THE GOOD NEWS...
The Euro is at it's best rate since 2012 at 1.42€ to £1 (even better than last week!) so if you haven't already now is a great time to stock up on holiday cash. This means the price of food at shops and tavernas has become more affordable than ever - as if you needed another excuse for that second lunchtime Mythos... Yiammas!
The banks have been bailed out but Greek Island ATMs are unreliable (and scarce) at the best of times and are unlikely to get better in the coming weeks!
For this reason it is sensible not to rely on your credit, debit card or ATMs. Instead we recommend taking as much cash as you think you may need for your week or two of sun, sea and saganaki (or as much as your insurance policy will cover).
WHAT ABOUT OUR TRAVEL PLANS?
It's smooth sailing...
All airlines are reassuring. As quoted in The Sunday Times on 21st June 2015, Monarch (our main flight provider) have said "We don't expect any changes to our flights". ABTA our bonding agent (the association of British Travel Agents) have said they do not anticipate any major dramas related to travel for tour operators.
We arrange all your transfers in resort so let us worry about this one! But we can confirm at this point that everything is running smoothly and once you get to your boat...well it's smooth sailing!
DO I NEED TO TAKE DRACHMA?
You may have heard the (slightly ridiculous) rumours that you may be requiring drachma for your summer holiday rather than Euros. This is of course complete rubbish. As the Post Office Travel Money have said it will take at least 18 months for the drachma to be reintroduced, if it does indeed come to this! And the Euro will remain the legal currency until that point.There is, however, likely to be a cap on withdrawals of around £200 per day. So as we have advised please do try to take enough Euros for the duration of your stay and certainly don't rely on credit cards.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO PRICES?
Who knows! It is very tricky to tell. But generally prices should remain stable and may even decrease. The holiday cost of living in Greece has fallen by 30% since this time last year partly due to the strength of the sterling. So, our suggestion is that you embrace the tremendously cheap taramasalataa and modestly priced moussaka!
CAN I CANCEL MY HOLIDAY?
Of course, if you are really that worried (although if you are that concerned, a holiday could be just what you need!). However, in the absence of any Foreign or Commonwealth Office advice against travel you won't be entitled to a refund. To quote the Sunday Times (again) "We think there's no need: in or out, Greece will still be a fabulous and great-value, summer destination".
OUR TOP TIPS IN BRIEF:
- Take plenty of cash (enough for the duration of your holiday).
- Do not rely on ATMs or Credit Cards
- Enjoy the cheap calamari and budget friendly baklava!