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The tourism industry in Greece

(This page is from a 2007 perspective)

Despite the massive nature of the tourism industry (more than 10 million visits a year), the tour industry is not doing that well in Greece; but that can open opportunities to you the tourist and to any one who wants to organize a tour. Greek tourism has been focused on the large package tour. This has, in some places, brought an unwelcome element of rowdy tourists. Incidents on Rhodes a few years back have led to some crackdowns on criminal activity among tourists. Greece had acquired a reputation as a place to party without limits, not exactly what locals and the authorities wanted. And what kind of tourism was this anyway? Never mind where you were, the disco and the bar was all that mattered. You could have been in any country, or in your own.

On the other hand, the view from the 60s that Greece was a cheap place for "fun in the sun" had its positive and negative sides also. It didn't turn the massive profit that catering to the wealthy does, but on the other hand, it was a sort of democratic, honest tourism that let you travel close to the ground, and actually interact with Greeks. That low-cost mode is under attack.

Post September 11th, Greece also suffered a decline in tourism due to security concerns, and the country's reputation, fair or not, that it was lax on security. In fact, tourists were never a target nor was the country particularly dangerous. The transition to the euro allowed vendors to sneak in price hikes. The fall of the dollar relative to the euro made it more expensive for the American segment of the market. As a result, the industry is down. Yacht charters were off 60% in 2003, for example. Tourist arrivals were off 8% in 2003 from the year before.

More bad publicity surrounds the elderly state of some ferry boats. A spectacular sinking a few years ago, caused by the worst sort of negligence by the crew cast a spotlight on the domestic ferry industry. Some cleanup was done, but some issues remain.

The Olympics occupied the country in 2004 and there was much infrastructure built. Sounds like a rebound could be happening

Last modified 2/22/07; posted 8/29/04. © 2004 John P. Nordin