Greece travel news for sailors – latest

Latest Greece Travel News For Sailors – 14th October 2015

The UK Foreign Office have finally removed their advice to to enough Euros to cover your stay. Recent Greek elections have passed off without causing the re-opening of the crisis that some feared. So the main lasting impact of the financial crisis on sailors is that the tax rises will see higher prices in 2016, as those operators that had absorbed the increase in 2015 will have to pass them on in the charter prices.

UK media focus has shifted to the refugee crisis. Although migrants and refugees have been passing through Greece for year, numbers are much higher this year, most noticeably passing through some of the Dodecanese islands.

Other than a few temporary camps that have sprung up in one or two places you’re unlikely to see much sign of the refugees. Most cross at night to avoid being seen and turned back and I’ve not heard of any charterers coming across them at sea.

Latest Greece Travel News For Sailors – Sunday 26th July

The UK Foreign Office still advise travellers to “take enough euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays”. However, there remain no special limits on cash machine withdrawals from overseas (eg UK) accounts, and no sign of ATM’s running out of money (any more than usual).

The tax rises appear now to be implemented throughout the country so prices in shops and restaurants will be a little higher than before. Yacht operators seem to be absorbing the increase for now but expect next years prices to be higher. So there’s no better time to book than now, before the new prices come in!

Latest Greece Travel News For Sailors – Sunday 20th July

Both the Greek and German parliaments have now agreed the bailout deal. Banks will re-open tomorrow and the fear of cash machines running out of money has subsided. However, UK Government advice remains to take plenty of cash with you, though I’ve not heard of any tourists having difficulty with withdrawals.

The bailout deal includes a requirement to raise VAT on food (including restaurant meals) and hotel accommodation to 23%, up from 13% (mainland) and 9% (islands). Claims that these were effective last Thursday seem unfounded, with tomorrow now being touted as implementation day.

However, I spoke to one operator yesterday who said he wasn’t expecting the new rates to take effect until October. Even if they do, some restaurants may choose to absorb the increases. Remember too that the Greeks are past experts at tax avoidance so time will tell when and how much the rises really bite. At this point, I’m not anticipating any changes to yacht prices, not least because a fair number of “Greek” operators are actually head-quartered elsewhere.

There have been rumours if some shortages of supplies at pharmacies. So I would recommend taking any necessary medication with you. But then I suggest that’s always a good idea anyway!

Latest Greece Travel News For Sailors – Monday 29th June

You will be aware that Greece may be on the verge of leaving the Euro. This page will keep you updated with Greece travel news for sailors as best I can. If you’ve booked a holiday through Sailing Choices, please don’t email asking for further information – I don’t have any! You may want to bookmark this page so you can check back later.

As this is uncharted territory, the impact on travellers is not certain, and the situation may change quickly. Longer term, the situation seems likely to be, if anything, beneficial to tourists. However, there is some short term disruption to banking services.

Money

Banks in Greece will be closed this week. Cash machines are working but there may be long queues in larger conurbations. This is less likely to be an issue in the smaller holiday locations you will mainly be visiting.

Greece account holders are being limited to withdrawals of 60€ a day. This limit does not extend to overseas (eg UK) accounts but due to high demand from the local population, machines may run out of money. Again, this is more likely to be a problem in the larger centres.

The UK Government’s travel advice is that you take extra cash with you – I would suggest Euros rather than other currencies. I would also suggest not taking travellers cheques which may be hard to change if the banks remain closed.

If the Greek Government is forced to re-introduce the Drachma, I would expect shops and restaurants to continue to accept Euros (eagerly), so I doubt you’ll find you’ve a wallet full of unusable money. The expectation is that a change of currency would result in a reduction in prices.

Yachts

I am not expecting any of the yacht suppliers to be greatly affected – many “Greek” charter companies are headquartered (or at least bank) outside Greece.

I’ve not heard of any problems with supplies to charter companies. There may be occasional issues with delivery of spares if transport problems surface, or with fuel supplies if panic buying sets in.

Transport

Greece relies heavily on its tourist industry and I would expect the government will work hard to avoid disruption to flight services.

There have been one or two reports of motorists panic buying fuel but I’m not aware of any shortages that would impact on transfers.

Summary

Euros may be hard to obtain at times, and as many outlying shops and restaurants don’t take card payments, I suggest you take some extra Euros with you. Otherwise there seems no reason at this stage to expect disruption to your holiday and I’m sure the Greeks will be as delighted to see you as ever.

This Greece travel news for sailors will be updated as the situation develops