German tourists keep flocking to Greek beaches: industry

German tourists keep flocking to Greek beaches: industry
Tourists embrace on the Red Beach on the Greek island of Santorini, Greece, July 2, 2015
PHOTO: Reuters

BERLIN - Despite Greece's debt turmoil, German tourists keep flocking to the Mediterranean country's beaches and islands, the German Travel Association (DRV) said Monday.

"Greece continues to be very popular with Germans - package tourists are sticking with their travel plans even after the July 5 referendum ... and are not cancelling their reservations," said the DRV.

"Greece this summer is again among the most popular destinations for Germans." A rise in bookings in May showed that Germans were not scared off by "headlines about the financial crisis", it said.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 Germans were currently on vacation in Greece, a number set to rise in coming days and weeks as the summer school holidays kick off in several of Germany's 16 states.

Last year, some 2.5 million Germans visited Greece, up 8.5 per cent from 2013, it said.

This trend was expected to accelerate further this year, according to forecasts made before the Greek crisis escalated in recent weeks, said the DRV.

It stressed that despite the war of words between Athens and its EU-IMF creditors, no "objective threat or service restrictions", or fuel and other shortages, had occurred or were expected.

Given banking controls for Greeks, the DRV urged Germans to bring "enough cash" in addition to credit cards and other means of payment, although capital controls do not apply to foreign bank cards.

Even in case of a change of currency, "it is expected that the euro will continue to be accepted to pay for purchases in Greece", said the DRV.

Tourism is a vital sector of the Greek economy, making up about 20 per cent of gross domestic product.

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