German Tourists Give Up On Greece

German touristsThe bad blood between Greece and Germany will take its toll this summer as only 0.8 percent of Germans said they plan to visit Greece for vacations. The startling statistic was presented by Ulrich Reinhardt of the Foundation for Future Studies who carried out the study, according to Deutsche Welle.

In 2012 the percentage of Germans who spend their holidays in Greece was 1.7 percent, Reinhardt said. In 2009, before the debt crisis broke out, the figure was 3.3 percent he said.

Greece’s tourism industry, crucial to its ailing economy, has been hit hard by political turmoil and economic uncertainty. German tourists are put off by reports of anti-German sentiment in some places and television images of strikes and anti-austerity riots, tour operators have said.

Greece’s “image problem,” Reinhardt said, is driving tourists to alternative tourism destinations such as Turkey, Italy and Spain. “Greeks must make it clear to the Germans that they are welcome in the country. It is very important that there is less news about strikes in Greece and more positive reports about the economy,” he said.

Some Greek lawmakers are insisting that Germany pay reparations for WWII and even return gold and other valuables stolen from Greece, and many Greeks blame German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is putting up much of the cost of international bailouts, for insisting on harsh austerity measures in return.