Tourists enjoying the Greek sunshine while the country’s fate hangs in the balance in Brussels say they are having stock up on euros in cash before arriving and report some issues changing British pounds at banks. While Greece continues to seek a way to avoid a total financial collapse and repay the hundreds of billions of Euros it was loaned to pay off its debts, there was at least one sector of its economy that managed to remain flourishing: the tourism industry.
Tourists have been seemingly unaffected by the country’s current economic turmoil despite the fear of local banks shutting down because of a lack of funds. Even following a negative growth in four out of five years between 2008 and 2012, Greece’s visitor exports grew in both 2013 and 2014, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). As Greece plummeted into an economic crisis, tourists increased their spending in a country that desperately needs it. Underscoring that point, the WTTC ranked Greece 33 out of 184 countries for their forecast for visitor export growth in 2015.
For many tourists, the idea of contributing to the Greek economy seems like the perfect excuse for a vacation there. Meaghan Pollard, a tourist currently in Greece, said she feels better about her “out of control” spending habits considering the circumstances.
These are some tips to help you find your way around in Greece Banks
- Opening and Closing time for Banks
The normal banking hours are typical Monday – Thursday 8:00 – 14:30 and Friday 8:00 – 14:00, however depending on the neighborhood some branch closes earlier and some open on Saturday e.g banks in malls opens until 21:00 on weekdays and 20:00 on Saturday.
- ATM restrictions
A decree on banking controls has been published in the official Government Gazette stating banks will not open Monday and will stay shut through Monday, July 6. Greece could shorten or lengthen this period. ATMs are set to reopen early Monday afternoon at the latest. Even then, withdrawals are limited to 60 euros ($66) per day. Visitors and other holders of credit and cash issued abroad are exempt from the restrictions.
- You can use Online Transactions
Web banking transactions will be mostly allowed, allowing people to pay their bills online. However, they cannot move money to accounts abroad. Special provisions could be made for remittances to Greek students and patients abroad. And also for the tourist in Greece can carry out international transactions.
- Waiting Time in Banks
State-owned banks such as the National Bank of Greece tend to have longer waiting times, but queues can also be long in private banks such as Alpha Bank and EFG Eurobank. Take a book at peak times or try and go at 8am if you want to avoid a wait.
- Long line ques at the ATM
It depends on where you are, but it is certainly a risk. As a general rule, ATMs are more likely to run out of cash on the Greek islands than on the mainland. So as to this there will be long ques at the ATM, Greek citizens have been limited to taking out only €60 (£42) a day, due to people rushing to the cash points to take out their money. This cap doesn’t apply to tourists, however many ATMs are running out of cash very quickly.