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Banks in Greece are set to re-open today after being shut for almost three weeks.
However, they will only be offering limited services so the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise travellers to take sufficient euros in cash for the duration of their stay.
Many VAT rises agreed as part of the country’s financial bailout are not due to come into force until October so will not affect the majority of holidaymakers this summer, according to Abta.
VAT is due to soar from 13% to 23% of food, transport and restaurant meals from today (Monday) followed by a similar rise for hotels in October.
In a note to members, Abta said: “You will be aware of the announcement of VAT increases which the Greek parliament has agreed to, as part of the package to obtain a financial bailout.
“The intention is that many of these increases will come into effect from 1 October 2015 so they would not affect the majority of holidays for this summer.”
But Xenophon Petropoulos, of the Greek Tourism Confederation, said last minute bookings –which comprise one-fifth of holidays – were down by a quarter in recent weeks.
“We know the tourist industry must help kick-start the Greek economy but this [VAT rises] is a big burden for us,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
Thanassis Papanikolaou, head of the SEPOA association of restaurant chains, described the tax rises as “a kiss of death”.
Meanwhile The Global Travel Group has revealed that bookings to Greece are 40% up compared to the same time last year and showing no signs of slowing down.
Package holiday sales to the country have doubled over the past couple of weeks year on year and the average booking value of holidays is up by over £300 with Rhodes, Crete and Corfu topping the list as the most booked destinations, the consortium said.
Managing director Andy Stark said: “It’s encouraging to hear that the on-going economic turmoil in Greece is not deterring British holidaymakers from booking trips to the country.
“Enquiries and bookings are on the up, showcasing once again that us Brits are savvy when it comes to a good deal, informed and will travel this summer regardless of the country’s economic problems.
“Our agents are reporting some stand-out deals to Greece and its islands at the moment. Travellers are snapping these up and heading out to enjoy the sunshine.
“I would encourage anyone travelling to Greece to keep abreast of the situation and ensure they take the relevant measures with cash to ensure they are well prepared, but firmly believe that a holiday to Greece right now is a good idea all round.”
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