ASATA advises SA Tourists travelling to Greece to carry ‘in case of emergency’ cash

Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA)
Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA)

As concern grows regarding how tourists travelling to Greece in the near future will be directly affected by the impact of the nation’s financial collapse, ASATA recommends that South African tourists take precautionary monetary measures when travelling to the destination.

Media reports have confirmed that Greece’s stock exchange and banks have been closed for a duration of a week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to Greece was being refused after the Eurozone rejected further bailouts. Additional reports state that Greek citizens have been queuing up at ATMs to draw cash, although they can currently only withdraw up to €60 a day.

The nation will be holding a referendum to vote whether it will remain in the Eurozone. If Greece votes no, tourists are being told not to worry as the impact will be marginal. Tourism companies will likely continue to quote rates, and accept payment, in Euros for the benefit of visitors to the country.

Government advisories such as the UK Foreign Office, have issued advice saying, “Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Make sure you have enough Euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays.”

ASATA CEO, Otto de Vries, commented on the status of tourists travelling to the country by saying, “It’s imperative that South Africans travelling to Greece in the immediate future are well prepared for their travels regarding availability and accessibility to Euros. Though we have been advised that the current crisis won’t affect travellers, we strongly recommend that tourists carry a reasonable amount of cash on them in case the situation becomes dire.”

ASATA offers the following advice for tourists travelling to Greece:
The €60 restriction on withdrawals does not apply to people who hold bank cards from outside of Greece although there are reports that some ATMs have run out of money and are no longer able to dispense cash.

It is recommended that you avail yourself of multiple means of payment such as a cash passport, or your credit card, but we are of the opinion that cash will be the best form of payment at this time in Greece.

Take extra security precautions when carrying cash. Use safes and deposit boxes to store cash and split money between family members so that you don’t carry too much around with you.