“Going Dutch after a dinner party means everyone splits the bill, going Greek means everyone eats, drinks, enjoys and then realizes no one has any money left to pay the bill.” This is the latest joke that has been doing the rounds since the Greece crisis started making headlines. Greece borrowed a lot of money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other European countries, and now the banks in Greece have defaulted. Plastic money or payment by credit cards means there’s no ‘real’ money circulating in the economy. When the time came to pay it all back at the end of the dinner party, suddenly Greece realized it has no money. While you can find a lot of literature online explaining the crisis in detail, there is often conflicting material on whether now is the ideal time to book your flight tickets and set off on a holiday to Greece or not. Instead of simply answering the question, I’m going to put forth before you conditions currently prevalent in Greece and their outcomes. Based on this you can analyse and make an informed decision for yourself. So, shall we begin?
What’s up with the banks and ATMs?
The ATMs in Greece have been shut for almost a week now, with a cap on withdrawal being 60 Euros. Which means if you travel to Greece, getting money out of the ATM might be next to impossible, with locals queuing up for hours. It would be advisable to carry a lot of cash. The ATMs might look like magical money dispensers, but these machines are stocked with cash by tiny elves. With hard cash being a scarcity, most of these ATMs are running out and not being restocked. However, these restrictions are for the locals and if you have an account in a foreign bank, your credit cards will still work.
But isn’t that dangerous?
Carrying a lot of cash is always dangerous. In a country where people are clamouring and spending hours in line to get money, banks are shut, ATMs are running out. With over 26% of the 11 million population is unemployed which includes 60% of the youths and the social condition deteriorating; safety might be a little more tricky.
But I've already booked?
In case you’ve already booked an all expense paid trip to Greece, you shouldn’t have much problem. Yes, all tourist attractions are going to be cheaper ticket wise and Greece could benefit from this money inflow. Even though tourism might not be much affected yet, it’s on shaky grounds. Reports suggest that hotels are running out of stocks and supplies, and with no money to pay for the goods, replenishing is not going to happen any time soon. Even the supermarkets are running out of food supplies as paranoia is getting the better of people and they are hoarding, in case the situation gets worse.
The Big Referendum
Everything hinges on the referendum of 5, July. That’s the day when the people of Greece decide whether they want to accept the bailout being provided, which would mean accepting the stringent conditions that come along with it. Or they can vote no, in which case Greece will exit the Eurozone. Either way it’s going to result in chaos and disruptions. Let’s see how.
If they say Yes...
If they say, it would come along with serious restrictions and monetary scrutiny. It would mean tax hikes, more spending cuts. Some even speculate that it would weaken the current governments position. Which could in turn lead to dissolution of the government. All this is speculation, but in case if events do transpire in this manner, it would mean elections, amidst an already messed up economic situation. Must admit, it does not sound like an ideal vacation.
If they say No...
If they say no to the referendum, it would mean Greece would leave the Eurozone. Which would mean they’d have to find a different way to plug the debt hole. Greece will probably have to print new currency. But that won’t happen over night, so your Euro will still be valid until you have to fly back home. The new currency would be at a devalued rate, which would attract investors. It would also make it an attractive tourist destination because it would be super cheap. But all this is long term. Leaving the Eurozone would hamper the Euro and affect the other countries, especially Spain, Portugal and Italy which means you’ll need to wait and see before planning any European holiday.
But if you’re the adventurous type who thrives on an adrenaline rush, you could book a flight ticket, get on a plane and fly off, because the fact of the matter is, currently in Greece, history is being made. So for all those who thrive on adventure, our Greece Package is here to help you get your dose of adventure.
Author : Sanjana Sule