Saturday 24 February 2018

The Punt: The Acropolis is thriving despite the economic apocalypse

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis must be kicking themselves. Who needs a career in politics when you've got the might of the EU on one side, and your own party dissidents on the other?

And the one thing Frau Merkel and the party lefties in Athens have in common is grumpiness about the Syriza party's handling of the Hellenic economy.

Alexis and Yanis would have been better off running a hotel in Hersonissos or a souvlaki stand in Santorini.

Why? Because while the wider economy is tanking, Greece's vital tourism industry is doing very nicely, thank you. Tourism accounts for a fifth of total economic output, directly contributing €17bn to the country's coffers, with as much as €45bn in indirect benefits from leisure spending.

Stories of tourists needing to avoid the ATMs and bring in wheelbarrows filled with cash, haven't dented trade (which has risen, in fact), especially since prices for high-end accommodation have fallen as much as 15pc. Even with images of protests in Athens, many luxury hotels are booked solid till next month. Yamos!

Irish Independent

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