Posts Tagged ‘Greek Economy’

Greece2015 MykonosThe Word Is: Cash is King! Discounts prevail, pensions and small hotels give most value; bus it to the beach; eat gyros and souvlaki and an Alpha Beer daily.

Euros and major credit cards are no problem for the savvy traveler in 99% of the venues.  Lock your Cash in a sealed envelope in the Hotel room safe or the Hotel front office safe with any good jewelry. Take only what you need for the daily missions.  Keep only one credit card on your body.  Inform your card company bank that you wish to be informed of any purchase over $XXX.xx dollars via text.

Greece2010 125Most of the restaurants on the Greek major tourist islands bring the Card Billing Machine to your table for you to swipe your card.  Use the visible ATM machines in the front of the local bank windows.  Avoid the ATM in Gas Stations or Beach Bars.


Greece2015$100 to $200 per day will get you  a room in a pension, perhaps with a continental breakfast for two people. These prices are quite normal.  The room will be in a smaller building with close proximity to the harbor, bus stations, restaurants and the port of Mykonos. Expect twin beds that might be a tad firm.

Here is the news on the ground: there are definite rip-off. Example this: Paranga Beach, on the north side of Mykonos Island is  a great sandy cove beach with a small traverna.  The beach vendor maintains the beach and offers Chaise Lounge Bed (2) and one umbrella at the sea edge. The ripoff price is 120 Euros.  What?  These should be no more that 5 Euros each  or 25 Euros max!  I would expect a full body massage at those inflated prices.

Greece2010 193A cocktail at the Little Venice area in Mykonos Town, a trendy nightlife spot, will set you back $20.00. Note, the tip is included, thank goodness.  Shopping will be a task in the evening well-lit narrow white cobblestone streets of Mykonos. Look for up to 20% cash buyer discounts on jewelry and clothing.

The Mykonos traveler will find that they are in an insulated world from the confusion and news of the day.  Make the most of it and like Zorba, ” live for the day”!  Opa.

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IMG_5494The central area of Athens, Greece, near the Governmental Parliament Building, offers a wealth of joy to the visitor or the local.  This area has something for everyone.  From the people watching, to food, to touristy trinket stores, and to some fine specialty stores, all engage the traveler on foot.  The narrow and cobble-stoned streets warrant good walking shoes.  The vendors of the small establishments often lean outside the doorway and beckon the foot traffic. Smaller side paths lead to more treasures and more obscure wares.  A store that is a wall on which hang antique door-knockers could be a good example. The owner would be a specialist in that trade.  Commerce is brisk in many shops, as there are lots of people.  As it is said, “better buy it now, as it won’t be here next time”, is very true in the Flea Market.

Take a stroll through this area. Getting to the flea market is easy. If you are coming from Syntagma Square you will be walking down Metropolitan Street, past the Cathedral and the square of shiny marble. There is a small Byzantine church in the shadow of the cathedral that you should take a look at called Agios Eleftherios.  I love the peace and solemn quiet in this space. The church has an Icon inside which they say performs miracles. There are some cafes in the square and this is where Pondrossou Street begins. This section of Pondrossou is the high-end section of Monastiraki. There is a lot of touristy stuff here. I bought a wonderful Bouzouki guitar here from John’s Music Store.  But in my opinion, the really cool stuff is on lower Ermou and across on small streets. If you seek originality and real antiques leave Monastiraki behind and wander around Psiri.

If you continue through the square you will come to Ermou and if you cross into Psiri there are people selling there too. The further you go the weirder it gets and by the time you get down towards Pireos Street you have very poor people buying and selling from piles of rags and little gypsy children running barefoot.  Some shops are not even stalls, only things hanging a some wall. All is for sale.  So… Gypsy, bad, bad, bad!

vendorGypsies are skinny and invisible to the human eye. They know where every wallet is in the world. Then they are quicker than the fastest I have ever seen, ( personal ). Your Sock “might” be safe.  Here is an example of one stealth group gypsy action, [sadly from personal experience, from a time ago] : I don’t look like a tourist, just a Westerner, Plus, I stay away from the logos on the clothing and designer accents. These are a beacon of light to the gypsies. The thieves work the odds and the angles.  Groups in skinny teams quietly surround the mark, i.e., the Metro train commuter, a narrow cafe; close in, as in a crowded space; press against the (now) victim; and fleece every zipper, pocket, nook and crannies. When the train opens at the station, the Gypsies evaporate and all is gone. Do not get in that position ever. Hint: position a mouse trap in your back wallet pocket! Wait for the …snap and scream!

Check out the morning meatmarkets, if available to your schedule in Psiri.  In the evening, the tavernas, ouzeries, and little restaurants are authentic & the nightlife is excellent ( Cab it back to the hotel in a metered vs. “Gypsy Cab”).

The Tourism Police are an integral part of the Hellenic Police (ELAS), consisting of men and women especially trained and competent to offer tourists information and help, whenever they have any problems. They are also competent to solve minor differences between tourists and enterprises. They all speak foreign languages. You can recognise them by the shoulder badge Tourism Police on their uniforms. Tourism Police operate an emergency telephone line on a 24 hour basis (just dial 171 any day, any time, from all over Greece).

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Business Travelers and Suppliers Convene for Travel Management

The Global Business Travel Association is finishing up the 2012 July conference at the new Boston Convention and the attendance is strong.  This event delivers $113 BILLION in buying power.  The travel industry focus on the highest margin traveler and the trends to secure that prime business heightens each year. Productivity and travel budgets are reviewed by the corner offices and the vendors search for the hot spot to win a place in the sun.  This group is spared little expense and speakers on the subjects include Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Heads of the industry giants and luminaries of travel round out the panels.  This year the subjects dwell on:

  • Safety and Security of the business traveler
  • The Economics of successful Hotel negotiation
  • Optimizing Travel Card Programs & understanding Premium Air Travelers
  • Constructing Travel Policies & Loyalty Programs
  • Air Sourcing & travel management relationships
  • Business Travel to Asia  & India, Latin America, Learning the Landscape

Road Warrior Apps are one of the many tools in the strategy to reduce the costs to corporations.  And, “Happy Travelers” ?  What is the impact from  frequent travel on employees and company?  The GBTA has complied data on much of the above and the Hospitality Vendors leverage their resources.

The demands are on the vendors to provide the Business Traveler amneties to drive value. Wider seats and Wifi are a start.  Hotels are considering installation of in-room  iPads and the  “greening of the hotel campus”.  The missing link has been the connecting procurement and the traveler experience. The average travel buyer at GBTA Convention manages a $91 MILLION travel program and 10,000 travelers.  Company Travel Managers must look for the keys to success in the Garden of Good and Evil in the travel years of a changing landscape.

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According to Reuters data, in the first half of the year, net tax revenues ran almost 1 billion euros below target. This means that Greece will likely miss a goal to reduce its budget deficit to 7.3 percent of GDP this year from 9.3 percent. Further,  many state mandated policies have missed deadlines and targets. Opposition parties state that the current government adheres [sic: “obeys”] to EU troika and ignores the people.  The delay in the two elections has put the finance schedule in arrears.

With the Summer Olympics looming the Spartans of ancient times must win to move to the podium of Europe.

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     What could be the outcome if Aegean Islands are offered for sale to all?

Party with Dionysus

Delos Island, includes several Greek Gods, and architectural antiquities, close proximity to Fine Restaurants and nightlife of Mykonos Town. 3.43 km2  

Lots of room for Building,  Sorry, Columns with Pallus not included with offering.  $100,899,999! Call Now for showing.

Aristotle Onassis was here

Skorpios Island,  Beat a path here before Bill Gates.  This little piece of  heaven, developed by the big guy, is a bargain when you think of Jackie O.  Georgio Armani could join you in the bidding, but don’t count out  “The Bieber”.  Just a hop and jump on your yacht to Brindisi, It.  Real value at $200,000,000! 

360 Degree View of the Aeagan

 Keros Island,  in the center of the Cyclades, perch yourself on top of Mt. Keros, and be the first new inhabitant here.  The Artifacts abound and, yes, you can set up shop, too. Renaming rights are at your beckon. 
Bronze Age tools can get the building sites ready for condos. All permits were acquired and the officials are looking forward to you.  A Steal at $150,000,099!            Act fast.


ITHICA, Can’t disclose where it is, but, Odysseus, Achilles, and Agamemnon will attest that the journey was worth every minute.  This piece of rock was home to countless Heroes.    Same owner as Island of Atlantis got this prize:

$100,000,000 and 4 fully equipped galleons took it.  

Call Now, Operators are waiting! 

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My fondest conversion rate memory was on September 5th, 2001 on the Island of Santorini, two days prior to return to Athens by air and on to the Plaka District to a hotel rooftop swimming pool.  All this was occurring before the infamous September 11th.

The best Exchange rate was: 5,000 Drachma for: two oceanside Chaise Lounges and one Blue and White Stripped Umbrella.  The Ice Cold Mythos Beer was 500 Dr.  In US greenbacks, all about twelve bucks!

Questions abound on the sustainability of the Greek Euro and the reversion to a “new Drachma”.

The Euro Note Code Scheme

German X, Spanish V,  France U, Ireland T, Portugal M, Italy S,   Belgium Z,  Cyprus G, Luxembourg (1),  Malta F, Netherlands P, Austria N, Slovenia H, Slovakia E and Finland L.

                                            Greek notes start with a Y.

 My solution:

In 1954, the drachma was revalued at a rate of 1000 to 1. The new currency was pegged at 30 drachmae = 1 United States dollar. In 1973, the Bretton Woods System was abolished; over the next 25 years the official exchange rate gradually declined, reaching 400 drachmae to           $1 U. S. dollar.  On January 1, 2002, the Greek drachma was officially replaced as the circulating currency by the Euro, and it has not been legal tender since March 1, 2002.

LUCANIA, Elea-Velia. Circa 535-510 BC. AR Drachm (3.87 gm).  Forepart of a lion right, tearing at stag’s leg / Quadripartite incuse square.

Greek coinage commenced soon after the city’s foundation and its types (forepart of lion devouring prey/incuse square) and denomination (Phokaian silver drachm) reflect the Asian origin of the early citizenry of  Velia. Later, in the 5th century, the weight standard of the Velian coinage was assimilated to that of the Achaean cities of Magna Graecia producing a coin of about 8 grams.

Per data from CNBC, Greece will need 375 Million Notes.  They will need 1.5 billion Coins.  The nation has one Goverment Printer and one Print Press.  At a rate of 65 million notes capacity per month, the task may take half a year. A credit system, barter system and/or the old Euro conversion to new Dr. system will need to be installed.  A daunting task and thought.

Bring back the Ancient Coinage with a lion devouring  a stag’s leg in Silver please. I’ll be filling my pockets.

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 Greece Tourism:  Can  A Five Year Austerity Plan Change Human Nature to “Live Life”

It used to be that June was the Italian Families, July was the English and Swedes, August was for the German Households and September for the Rich Texas Brides and then, me.  The summer in Greece and on their Islands in the Aegean Sea was the melting pot for the liberal exodus of Euro Travelers on extended holiday. Where were the Greeks then?  Well, they were around but in those places that the rest knew not.

A recent Eurobarometer public opinion survey said seven out of 10 Greeks will be opting for a local holiday destination this summer. Tight budgets and austerity and the pinching of the retirement incomes, with more planned, has changed Greek tourist history:  to that of  belt tightened planning.

Further, Greek unions on Thursday called a two-day general strike next week to coincide with debate in Parliament on a fresh package of belt-tightening measures.  Demonstrators in Syntagma Square, i.e., the “Times Square/Steps to White house of Athens” , who have occupied this space in front of the Greek Parliament building for about a month, are also planning a strong showing. A general strike set to take place next week is expected to once again paralyze the center.  Greeks need to get away from this.  Local travel is geared up with some special last minute deals at 50% discounts.

www.Greektouristguides.gr  or  www.GoldenDeals.gr  or  www.Travelplanet24.com

The Flying Dolphins are booked solid, as are Aegean Air to the Jewels in the Greek seas.

The Greeks know the ropes and will make the necessary adjustments as needed.  The rest of Europe will now have to fight side by side with them for summer bliss.

Hey Merkel, leave the Greeks alone   By Nick Malkoutzis, Ekathimerini, the English Translated Greek Newspaper, writes:

“…It is just over a year since Greece signed its 110-billion-euro bailout agreement. As the country continues to teeter on the edge of economic collapse and doubts about the viability of the euro persist, it is easy to forget that within this bigger picture there are little people paying the price. They are paying for the failures of their leaders.  The pension law passed in Greece last year will raise the retirement age to 63.5 by 2015.

In her speech, Merkel also suggested that Greeks take too much time off work. But a study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting found that while there are big variations between holiday entitlements in the EU, the differences between Greece and Germanyare not that great. The report indicated that an employee in Greece with 10 years’ service will have a total of 37 days’ leave each year (12 of them public holidays) while his or her colleague in Germany will receive 33 days off (13 of them public holidays). Four days a year difference hardly seems like the greatest injustice within the eurozone, nor is it the cause of the downfall of the Greek economy.

The image of the undisciplined Greek loafer who fritters away the day doing nothing is proving useful for a number of European politicians, not just Merkel, but it is difficult to criticize them when the government inAthensis doing nothing to combat this image. If anything, it is allowing it to be cultivated — perhaps because Greece’s politicians feel that this way they have an alibi when they are unable to meet the targets set by the EU and the IMF. It is easier to blame economic and political shortcomings on social inadequacies or cultural traits rather than accept your own failure.

If the last year has taught us anything, it is that millions of Greeks, who want to be part of a modern, efficient country and a progressive EU, are trapped. They are caught between austerity measures that are choking the economy, politicians at a national and European level that lack courage and a state apparatus that is not fit for the 21st century.  These people are crying out for a helping hand. Comments like those from Chancellor Merkel simply serve to beat them down.”

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