Editor's note: A first-person account from our Greek contributor Athanasios Vasilopoulos on why and how Europeans can support Greece as the country struggles to find its way out of the economic crisis of the past few years.
We all now know that Greece has many financial problems, the
unemployment rate is getting higher and higher and many people are daily losing
their jobs because of this situation. But one thing that Greece is proud of is its tourism industry. If you have ever visited Greece, you are already familiar with some
things that make our country beautiful, like the many spectacular islands, the
very tasty and healthy food, the great hospitality and the great heritage that the
ancient Greeks gave to the world.
But the real problem is not what you think it is. You see, now with all these crises - firstly with the announcement of the referendum, and then with the capital control that held all the banks closed - a big percentage of people that wanted to visit Greece have cancelled their reservations at the hotels and also a lot of people that were actually here, left the country early before finishing their vacations. This is, of course, because of the fear that suddenly Greece is going to be out of the Eurozone, out of their second home, out of Europe.
And the main question remains “Why should I visit Greece…Why at this time…Is it safe now”, after all this bad situations.
I am sure that I can answer all these questions for you. You can visit Greece without fear, because there has been no significant violence and there is nothing to fear about. The sea is still blue, the people here are still friendly and hospitable, because you can still access your money from the banks, you can still come here on vacations without spending too much money and of course it is safe for you and your family to come. And if you decide to come, make sure that you actually help us in the best possible way.
For example you can spend your money at the local shops of the area, instead of giving them to international shops - this way you will greatly contribute at supporting the local market. Also, you can spend cash instead of giving debit or plastic cards to pay for your expenses – this way you can inject money directly in the Greek economy. Furthermore, you can visit other places that are not so famous among the tourists and support them us well. Last, but not least, you can tell and share your experiences with all of your friends, family and social media and tell them to visit us.
Some final thoughts
Greece and the Greek people have been through many difficult years, not only in these five years of austerity, but all throughout the centuries. It is now time that we all work together to change this situation. The time to give Greece a second chance to make things better.
So will you help?!