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Greece Ravaged by Austerity Reinvents Itself

MykonosOn June 26, the Guardian published an interesting article on how much the crisis has changed the Greeks’ attitude towards their tourists. The Guardian visited Mykonos, “the island made famous by Jackie Onassis,” which expects one million tourists to arrive on its shores this summer.

Greece expects 17 million visitors in total and the Guardian stresses how very important tourism business is for Greece right now, “Arrivals have never mattered more. Tourism accounts for almost 20% of the GDP – and jobs. With recession-hit Greeks who are also struggling with a record unemployment of nearly 28%, the highest in the Eurozone, industry earnings this year may well be the only income for many.”

“Τime has come for Greece to reinvent itself,” the Guardian wrote and Andreas Fiorentinos, a third generation hotelier in Mykonos affirms, “The crisis has taught us that we cannot fool our clients.”

Fiorentinos, also deputy secretary general of the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT), added, “For the past year we’ve been visiting tourist expos around the world to convey the message that Greece is not only about souvlaki and Zorba the Greek. If it weren’t for our lumbering state we would have moved away from those stereotypes long ago.”

The Guardian closed its article on Greek tourism with the words of Nikos Xydakis, a tavern owner for the past 40 years,  “This year we had to do everything, even clean the beach because the state is in no position to help. But in life everything changes. The crisis has played a big role. Our tourists have changed and we have changed too”.

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