Sunday, June 10, 2012

Greek tourism battered by political crisis, fear

(Reuters) - When he took a job as the manager of one of Greece's biggest resorts overlooking a sandy beach near Ancient Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games, Michalis Minadakis thought he had the goose that laid the golden egg.

But seven years later, his dream of a bonanza with sun-seeking tourists is in ruins as the country's debt crisis has deepened, sparking talk of a Greek exit from the euro and social unrest that has begun to scare off visitors.

"Germans have been good friends of Greek tourism but they're afraid to come over now," said Minadakis, his eyes fixed on empty sunbeds around a pool at his Olympia Riviera Resort that boasts four hotels and a beach that is 1.2 miles long (2km).

"This will be a very tough year. The hurdles we are facing are huge," he said, adding that he had suffered a 25 percent drop in bookings this year and received 50 percent fewer visitors from Germany, Greece's biggest tourist market. Read More