Greece’s ongoing financial troubles could see a raft of holiday deals to the popular sunshine destination this summer, the travel industry is predicting.
The debt-ridden country is on the brink of a financial meltdown with a bail-out plan in doubt and politicians in Germany calling for Greece to stop using the euro.
Riots erupting during workers’ protests over planned public spending cuts this weekend, just hours after Greek Premier George Papandreou sought emergency £35billion of loans from eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.
The Greek government was finally forced to ask for international help after the cost of its borrowing spiralled to a new high, making it prohibitively expensive to borrow money to service existing debts.
Leading members of Germany’s Christian Social Union, sister party in Bavaria to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said Greece should be forced out of the euro.
Leading CSU MP Hans-Peter Friedrich said: ‘Greece has not only a liquidity problem but also a fundamental growth and structural problem.’
He said that this should prompt Greek politicians to ‘seriously consider leaving the eurozone’.
But in potentially good news for Britons, travel bosses predicted that the crisis could reduce the price of holidays to Greece and its popular islands like Crete and Corfu as it tries to lure more visitors with cut-price deals.
Greece has lost out this year to Turkey and Egypt, which have provided better value for holidaymakers.
Frances Tuke, of the Association of British Travel Agents, said: ‘The current debt crisis will not affect the value of the euro in the short-term but holidaymakers can expect plenty of deals as the Greeks try to lure us over there to give them much-needed revenue.
However, British families who own holiday homes on the Greek mainland and its popular islands like Crete and Corfu face the prospect of paying 20 per cent surcharges on extensions and extra rooms they have added to their properties.
A draft bill going through the Greek parliament could result in British apartment and villa owners paying thousands of pounds more in taxes if they are found to have built undeclared rooms.
Currently, Greek property taxes are based on the size of all internal rooms.
But soon owners could be surcharged up to £600 or more for extensions.