Greek debt crisis: Should I still go on holiday to Greece? Government issues travel advice

Emma Haslett
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Take euros and avoid demonstrations, and your Greek adventure should go off without a hitch (Source: Getty)

As Greece plunges headlong towards defaulting on a payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tomorrow, what does that mean for the two million-odd people expected to travel to Greece as the summer holiday season kicks off?

Here's how it's likely to affect your holiday.

What's actually happening?

The Greek government has been unable to reach a deal with lenders, to whom it owes billions of euros of cash. If it doesn't manage to pay €1.6bn (£1.1bn) to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, it will officially be in arrears.

Naturally, this has caused savers in Greece to panic. They withdrew billions of euros last week, which left their banks in an increasingly precarious situation. Thus, the Greek government has imposed capital controls, which limit the amount locals can withdraw from banks to about €60 a day.

How will this affect me?

In theory, says the government's official advice, this shouldn't affect Britons on holiday, because foreign-registered cards are not subject to the controls put in place.

That said, it also suggests making sure you have "more than one means for payment" with you - including cash, a debit card and a credit card.

"Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services - including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs - throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Make sure you have enough euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays."

However, a statement from the Greek government reiterated that tourists shouldn't have problems.

"It should be also noted that there is ample availability of both fuel and all products and services that ensure a smooth and fun stay for the visitors in every city, region and the islands.
"Greece continues to guarantee a high level of quality of services offered to visitors who have made our country a top tourist destination worldwide.
"The minister of tourism Elena Kountoura reiterates that the Greek tourism remains high in the preferences of our visitors. The tourists who are already here and those who are planning to come, will not be affected in any way by the events and will continue to enjoy their holiday in Greece with absolutely no problem."

Will anything else happen?

Be aware of strikes and demonstrations - they've taken place in Athens fairly regularly as negotiations have become more heated between Greece and its creditors.

Strikes are regular and called at short notice, the Foreign Office says, and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece.

"Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities."

Here's a list of pre-planned demos.

Could things get violent?

So far, most demonstrations have been peaceful, if a little rowdy - so as long as you keep away from the demonstrations, there shouldn't be a problem.

However, the Foreign Office does point out that there is a "general threat from terrorism and acts of political violence".

"There have been several attacks involving explosives and automatic weapons against Greek institutions, shopping malls, media interests, diplomatic targets and the police," it adds, including several incidents at government offices and embassies in 2013, as well as an explosion outside the Bank of Greece in 2014.

"British nationals are not normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners."

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