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If you are thinking about visiting Greece....

If you are thinking about visiting Greece....

Old Nov 5th, 2010, 12:37 AM
  #1  
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If you are thinking about visiting Greece....

...then please consider this:

http://www.athensclassicmarathon.com/

I am a Greek myself and pretty much agree with the sentiment of that plea. Although a blow to our tourism will hurt a lot my country short-term, what is happening right now is even worse in the long run.
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Old Nov 5th, 2010, 01:05 AM
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From here in Greece, thankyou for your helpful link (NOT!)
It's not the big guys that get hurt first (if at all) from lack of tourists, it's the ordinary families. It will take years to have an effect on the people at the top, by then it's too late for many of us at the bottom.
I have several friends who have gone out of business, or are struggling, not because of the Greek economic crisis, but the global one that has already resulted in lower tourist numbers.
Thankfully I know there are many that will still come to Greece, no matter what.
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Old Nov 5th, 2010, 01:34 AM
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I'm sorry, I do understand that people who depend on tourism directly (like you maybe ?) will be hurt immediately, and are already struggling. A fall in tourism will in fact affect EVERYONE, since it is Greece's top "industry". However, we have proved that we are completely incapable of sorting things out ourselves. We need help from outside, and this help should be in a different form than allowing the pioneers of bankraptcy to continue in the same way. Already, AFTER the help from IMF, international organizations report that Corruption has INCREASED in the country and Transparency as well as the Ease of Doing Business indexes are DOWN. Things are getting worse, simply because the same persons who have been catastrophic to the country are in the lead. The total of Greece's debt is just a small fraction of "commissions" collected by "middle-men" in military and other deals (eg Siemens).

I can understand your anxiety, but the global economic crisis has hurt much less other touristic destinations, directly antagonistic to Greece. The devaluation of Greek tourism is also directly related to corruption and incompetence in the country.
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Old Nov 5th, 2010, 02:08 AM
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And I'm not saying that the people at the top will be hurt, financially speaking. They are set for life, and their children and grandchildren as well. We just need some form of pressure so we can see some ministers, media owners, etc behind bars. Today we have former ministers going around free when they have ADMITTED to bribery and money laundering. The Greek people are too stupid, too tired, too exhausted to remedy the situation themselves.
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Old Nov 5th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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Hmmmm.... micmic must himself be in some profession that is in some way insulated from the Greek economy. To me, micmac (and the person writing that "Don't visit Greece" blog that he links us up to) both sound like those tenured University professors In the USA (who in effect have lifetime job security) who are always counseling poor and/or jobless people on what to do. Self-righteous and insulated from hardship, and know-it-all. Yes, I can totally agree on the corruption and incompetence of so much of the Greek power structure! Their bad decisions can lead to exasperation among visiting foreigners. BUT I fail to understand how people from abroad, by not visiting Greece, thus contributing to the woes of hardworking people in the tourism business, can directly bring about reforms in the government.

I think a lot of people are wishing/dreaming about a Greece trip but wondering how to fit it into a prudent budget, in uncertain times. I'm retired, and live very frugally, but I keep planning to come back to Greece every year, because I love it, and because I've learned to travel there -- if not on a shoestring any more -- on a very modest sum; about 70€ a day for everything (you can check how I do it, on my web page: http://www.techforecast.com/janet.htm ) And the people I meet and have come to know in my Greece travels are hardworking, warm-hearted people who deserve to keep on making a living from their efforts. And, for beauty, adventure, fun and delicious fresh food, Greece offers more for your holiday dollar (or pound or mark or kroner) than anywhere else in Europe.

If micmac wants to come back and explain how he manages to enjoy economic security while his country suffers, and SPECIFICALLY how a foreign tourist boycott could bring down the evildoers, I'd be interested to learn -- but I suspect he won't.
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Old Nov 5th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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Rhodes, here we come in June 2011 with family. Everyone is excited. Richard
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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Dear travelejan,

please try to understand the situation here. It's not easy, and even Greeks are just now beginning to grasp it. Yes, Greeks are in general hardworking, warm etc. So what ? We have already borrowed money that our grand-grand children will have to pay back. The "help" from IMF did not come without a hefty price. In exchange for the "help" we have received, we have already ordered a lot of weaponry from France and Germany. This is not a secret or a conspiracy theory, the timing of the orders is there for everyone to see.

You ask how a foreign tourist boycott could help. First of all, I'm not a daydreamer and I know that a boycott won't happen. I'm just trying to rise awareness about the peculiar form of oligarchy that has been established in Greece (check the Wikipedia article on "nepotism"). But, if a boycott were actually to happen, the public rage would reach such levels that perhaps we could hope to see justice working -at last- in the country and see some people pay for their crimes (some of them already confessed, but justice is a joke here and NOBODY with high connections ever goes to jail). The "help" from other European countries is just extending the torture for Greeks, and it was offered only in order to ensure that the global economy wouldn't suffer severely from any blow to the Eurozone.

There is already talk about another general election here in Greece, only 1 year after the last one. The situation is so grave that politicians are looking for a way out, just like the previous government did everything possible in order to get rid of their responsibilities. But the problem is that the same people alternate on the important hot seats, and neither mistakes nor outright theft are ever being punished.

You wonder whether I'm insulated from the tourism business. As I said, nobody in Greece would be unaffected from a blow in tourism, and I'm no exception. Personally I have suffered severe losses from the crisis, as have the vast majority here. And like so many else these days, I'm looking forward to leaving the country. I don't know if I will succeed, but I'm working on my plan for it.

Anyway, as I said I don't have any hopes that any kind of help will come from foreigners - the situation is critical everywhere and people elsewhere have their own problems. But I hope that people in other countries will realize that Greece is NOT actually "getting back on track". The same corrupted politicians and families are still in place. Corruption increases steadily. Transparency is decreasing. Business is dying. These are not my rantings, just look at independent indexes. Criminals who in other countries would be in jail for life, here are free and many of them are still top political figures.

So please, don't fall into the trap of thinking that by visiting Greece you will be helping people in need. This is just the small tree. When you look at the forest, you will realize that those people's future in Greece can only be worse. And with the current political situation, we can't even hope for the next generations.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 05:48 AM
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Micmic: How about the Greek islands, are they insulated at all from the current situation?
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 09:39 AM
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Interesting.

You could substitute the name US instead of Greece for all Pitsikiris wrote about and those who caused the collapse getting away without accountability.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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ef hadi sto , micmac
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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It might be hard for someone without personal or family ties to Greece to really understand the situation.
Comparing the crisis aftermath in the US or Northern Europe with that in Greece is like comparing a campfire to a wildfire.

Tourists only see the hard-working people at the taverns or hotels, but they don't see the hundreds of thousands not working hard because their jobs and businesses are already gone.
The "support" which Greece got from the Eurozone or the EU in general was exactly for what micmac said: stabilize the Euro, but not help Greece to get back in business. The money was not used where the people needed it mostly, but to enhance a few finanical key figures so the country's credit rating improved and the impact on the Euro decreased. From what I heard from my friends in Greece, hardly anything from that money was used for substantial or sustainable investments. It got sucked up in financial engineering, so to speak.

Your tourist dollars (or better said: euros) feed not the hard-working hotelier but a bureaucracy beyond belief. My friends can sometimes not even explain how many trips to the city hall (or equivalent) and how many forms are needed for a simple document that allows you to put another two tables on the sidewalk.
So micmac has a valid point in saying that you keep a sick system running. Even if tourism was running at 100% or more, the effect would be (almost) zero, nil, nothing.
What my friends say is exactly what micmac said: even in times of general prosperity, there was much less "common wealth" than in other economies.

Sometimes you need to make it worse to build up enough pressure for change. If a tourist boycott is the right thing, though, is not for me to decide. I just wish the Greek that they get a government that at least offers them a clear perspective to get out of the mess.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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sorry.. should have written OP's name correctly: micmic instead of micmac
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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[your tourist dollars ,or better said, euros, feed not the hard working hotelier,but a bureaucacy beyond belief] INTERESTING How does that square with the fact that 65% of the work force is in 'services'?? Not saying it's great now in Greece, but they need our euros. Tourist dollars are 15% of GDP There unemployment rate is similar to the US, close to 10%. We will be more that happy to spend our tourist dollars next year in Greece. Withour tourist dollars, unemployment with be much higher. More suffering would be better?? Never, in my opinion.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Actually, the unemployment rate is about 12%. But it's suggested that hundreds of thousands are not working. Did I read that correctly?? With a work force of about 5 million and 12% unemployment, does the equate to 600,000 or 60,000? Just asking. Of course anyone out of work is not acceptable. Isn't a lot of the unrest caused by the government trying to get the retirement system changed as the French have done?? Just asking.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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Well, I assume you get a better perspective from statistical data from the web than from the people who live there.
I can only repeat what my friends from Greece tell me, i.e. that the number of people "working" in whatever administrative jobs is absurd. Appr. 3 people doing the job of 1 person. If those jobs in administration get downsized to the actual requirements, a lot more people will become unemployed. Changing the retirement system may be necessary or not, but the longer you keep a job blocked by an old person, no other person can get it. You have less retired people and more unemployed.
I assume that the Greek want more substantial change than a couple more tourist euros and smooth speeches from politicians.
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 05:25 PM
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Hey Cowboy; Not trying to be argumentative. But consider, anyone can say something, but is it factual?? As in 3 people doing the job of 1 person. Look, here in the US had Repubs all year saying there taxes are going up. In fact, working Americans received a tax deduction in their paychecks this year. But when you say quote, 'Greeks want more than a couple more tourist dollars', that's not realistic. GDP in Greece may be 330 billion and 15% would be perhaps 46, 47 billion. Would you advocate to take that out of their economy?? Then, 'smooth speeches from politicions'. That's just hyperbole. Means nothing.
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