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British travellers to Greece have been warned of the prospect of increased demonstrations across the country next week.
The updated Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice came as Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras urged voters to reject creditors’ demands in a snap referendum on Greece’s debt crisis due on Sunday.
The alert came in updated travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which said: “On 5 July, the government plans to hold a referendum. This may lead to an increase in demonstrations across the country.”
The FCO reiterated its warning that banking services, including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs throughout Greece, could “potentially become limited at short notice” as part of an extended closure of banks until July 6.
Greece’s bailout expires today (Tuesday), the same day it faces a deadline to repay a €1.6 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund which could lead the country to exit from the eurozone.
However, Marketing Greece sought to play down concerns, issuing a statement from the country’s economy ministry.
It stressed that the measures the Greek government has imposed, limiting the movement of capital within the country, does not affect those who wish to make cash withdrawals from ATMs or carry out bank transactions with debit and credit cards that have been issued abroad.
“It should be noted that the country has ample fuel supplies and access to the products and services required to ensure that visitors to Greece’s urban centres, rural areas and islands fully enjoy their stay,” it added.
The country “continues to guarantee the provision of high-quality services to its visitors, who have positioned Greece among the world’s leading destinations.
“Therefore, while the updated travel advice of most countries that visitors to Greece should bring extra cash with them is sound under the circumstances, holidaymakers may feel reassured that there is no reason for concern.”
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of Money.co.uk, said: “‘Take cash’ is the key message for anyone travelling to Greece this week.
“Your credit and debit cards should still be accepted if they were issued in the UK, but cashpoints could be empty so you need to go prepared.
“The euro exchange rate has soared amid the chaos: great news for anyone buying travel cash but timing is key as volatility prevails.
“Sunday is the day of reckoning and while we could see the euro strengthen if Greece vote their way out of the shared currency, without a crystal ball there’s really no way of knowing what will happen.”
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