Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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This is the only kind of Greek exit I want to see this Summer. I’m in Athens for a fleeting weekend visit and getting a taste, literal and metaphorical, of what this wonderful country has to offer.
Alas some 800,000 or so tourists this year won’t get to share the same experience. That’s the ballpark number I was told over dinner last night who have cancelled their holidays to Greece in recent weeks, thus inflicting more economic pain on a country whose people, I suggest, have suffered enough.
I remember talking to Dufry CEO Julián Díaz a few years ago after his company had bought Greek travel retailer Hellenic Duty Free Shops. The economic situation was bad at the time and I asked him if he was worried. His answer was sanguine – Greece’s attractions, historical, cultural and natural would always be here he said. There would always be warm sunshine, great food, magnificent beaches and islands and, not least, the warm-spirited Greek people.
Nothing has changed since then except the depth of Greece’s economic woes. But abandoning it as a tourist destination on the basis of often sensationalist and frequently inaccurate media headlines is in my view at best short-sighted and at worst callous.
Next weekend I will return to Greece, this time not on a weekend business trip but on my annual holiday. I will stay on Rhodes, Halki and the incomparable Symi and bask in the beautiful simplicity of it all. I refuse to even countenance a change of destination and I suggest more people do the same, helping this country’s people get back on their feet.
Dinner by the sea in Athens with Adil Raihani of Vienna Airport; Elena and Angie Galifa, bloggers extraordinaire (www.coolurstyle.com), plus Agora Trading’s Pantelis Velentzas and Panagiotis Madamopoulos-Moraris.