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Economic Situation in Greece

 6th Oct 2015

Update on economic situation in Greece - 6/10/15

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has now withdrawn its advice for tourists to Greece to take euros to cover the duration of their stay. The government department has updated its travel advice to say it no longer advises taking the cash for the whole holiday. The advice was issued in July when the economic crisis led to banks being closed. However in the Chania area of Crete there was never a problem withdrawing cash from a non Greek bank account.

Report from another client who returned from Crete on July 21st

We had a fantastic time and the villa (Kournedes) - was brilliant.  Thanks for all your help and you’d never have known that they were going through a financial crisis in Greece while we were there!

Report from another client who returned from Crete on July 18th

Thanks Jan we had an awesome time. The villa is incredible. No problems whatever in Crete.

Report from a client who returned from Crete on July 18th

We enjoyed our 2 weeks in Crete very much indeed. In common with others, I suspect, we were apprehensive before going what with the cash situation, but it all went well. A thoroughly enjoyable time, thank you.

Update Monday July 20th

Greek banks have re-opened today, Monday, July 20th. Capital controls remain in place in respect of Greek bank accounts. However, our advice about taking cash for the duration of your stay remains in force for the time being.

News from our contacts, on the ground in Crete, is that everything is fine. There are no shortages of food or fuel. The car hire companies continue to accept card payments.

Update Thursday July 16th

Whilst The Greek Parliament has voted, by an overwhelmingly majority, to accept the terms of the bailout agreed at the week-end, there are still tough negotiations ahead. It could be a while before the banks re-open and our advice therefore remains, as before, take sufficient cash to last for the duration of your stay.

Update Monday 13th July.

Bailout terms agreed. They now need to be legislated by Greece, by Wednesday the 15th of July, in order to keep the country in the eurozone. All the signs are that this will happen.

Note update Saturday July 11th.

We have received a further email from the villa owner mentioned below:-

"Just to keep you up to speed. Drew another lump of euros out yesterday, no problem. Just a shortage of baked beans currently"!

Note update Wednesday July 8th.

We received this email from one of our villa owners who is currently on holiday at his villa:-

"I had no trouble drawing from a cash machine in Almirida last week, on my UK bank, 300 euros. So no panic there. Petrol supplies seem ok after panic buying very first day. Food in shops seems plentiful as ever and the weather is superb! Tavernas business as usual but no card facilities but that's been the case for several years"!  

Banks in Greece remain closed for the time being but this primarily affects banking transactions for Greek bank accounts. Much of what is shown in the media is happening in Athens but even there many sources say there is no panic.

As the owner says above, there is NO restriction on the amount that can be withdrawn from foreign accounts but please bear in mind that ATM's may run out of cash.

Our advice is to take enough cash to last for the duration of your stay and not to rely on cards but they are always useful as a back up - see below about car hire ***. Euro is set to be the currency for some time even if Greece exits the euro.

All our villas are fitted with mini safes so that you can lock away your valuables and cash.

It is very unlikely that your villa rental is in jeopardy. The majority of our villas are owned by Britons, resident in the UK. We too are based in the UK which is why our prices are quoted in sterling.

*** The car hire companies (Pan Car and Kalives Travel) have both confirmed that they are still accepting cards but we would recommend taking cash to pay for car hire as this situation could change.

All our clients in Crete are enjoying their holidays and we fully expect this to continue. The Greek people will, as usual, make sure that tourists are looked after.

This is a quote from a client " Hi, my partner and I are currently staying, and having an amazing time, at The Retreat Villa in Kokkino Chorio. We just wondered about checking out .........."  Comments from an email on Sunday July 5th.

Information from the Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura - 2/7/15

In a Thursday statement, Greece’s Alternate Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura reassured foreign visitors to the country and those planning a holiday in Greece that their experience will not be affected by the economic crisis.

Greece remains “a very beautiful and safe country,” Kountoura stressed, while the daily routine remains “normal and quiet.”

“[Visitors] can use their credit, cash and debit cards with no problem. They can have access to high quality services and enjoy the very warm Greek hospitality,” she said, while tourists can still enjoy “our beautiful weather and nature, our beautiful blue waters, our traditional islands, the famous Greek food, our history and culture.”

“Thank you for choosing Greece for your vacation in this difficult economic situation that we are going through. And I know that when you go back home, you will be the best ambassadors to promote my beautiful country,” she concluded.

The Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Ministry in an announcement on Monday June 29th stated “the restriction measures on the capitals imposed by the Greek authorities do not refer to those who want to make transactions via ATM with credit or debit cards issued abroad.”  (note that although there are no restrictions, ATM's might run out of cash).

Moreover, it underlined that there is sufficiency in fuel as well as in products and services that secure the smooth daily life of the tourists, the cities, the regions and on the islands.

For visitors from the UK we suggest you also visit the government website here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece.