Amidst political uncertainty, Greece is experiencing a dramatic drop in tourism bookings of between 30 to 40 percent, as reservations are frozen.
The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA),has called on the Greek state to send an international message" that Greece has absolute peace, security and are able to welcome tourists from around the world" To Vima reports. HATTA blames the government for abandoning its commitment to tourism, a source of work for twenty percent of the populace.
According to CNBC the biggest drop in tourist bookings is from other European countries, primarily Germany, Benelux and the U.K. Business Week reports German bookings to Greece have fallen thirty percent since last year. Greece's tourist industry accounted for 16.5 percent of GDP in 2011.
A report earlier this week listed a number of airlines dropping or reducing direct flights to Athens. These included Delta, KLM, Air Canada, Thai Air and Gulf Air. At a time when Greece is more dependant than ever on the increased boost of tourism revenue, uncertainty makes travelers nervous.
Yet, away from the center of political unrest, everything that attracts tourists to Greece remains unchanged, with many hoteliers and others in the tourist industry attempting to attract visitors by maintaining low prices or offering discounts.
By the time the results of the next election are known, possibly offering more political stability, the tourist season will be in full swing and Greece will have suffered another unaffordable kick to its economy.