Prospects for 2013

2012 ended with a new tax-dodging scandal in Greece, involving the highest echelons of the political ruling class. As public opinion clamours for heads to roll we’re definitely headed for interesting times.

On the economic crisis front, there are signs that Greece may have hit bottom and that things are so bad (with unemployment, homelessness, depression and suicide rate at an all times high) that they can only get better from now on .
But pessimists predict that it will get even worse (especially since the predicted end of the world failed to happen).

"For rent' sign in a shop window

“For rent’ sign in a shop window

Cynics make black jokes such as these (roughly translated into English):  “The fastest growing chain shops in Greece is ENOIKIAZETE” (you read this ‘For rent’ yellow sign in the windows of all the shops that have closed down).
Another one that I loved: “I entered Happy New Year into Google search and it told me Not available in your country”.

Crete is less affected by the crisis than most other places in Greece so it might be where you will find most optimists. The 2012 tourist season was OK on the island, pretty much on par with the previous years, despite the dire outlook in the first half of the year, so money has been coming in.
And right now things look good for the 2013 tourist season: Greece hasn’t had too much bad press in the last 6 months and there is apparently a lot of interest in Greece as a holiday destination. The number of flights to Chania airport is due to keep increasing (especially with Ryanair opening a new hub here) and as far as I know large cruise ships will keep coming with some regularity to the town (docking at Souda harbour).

How it plays out will of course depend very much on what happens in Athens in the spring on the political and social front. Pictures of rioting don’t make people want to visit. Reports of neo-nazis beating up foreigners are not a big turn on either. News of strikes are even worse: quite understandably, if you are coming for a one week holiday you don’t want to lose a day of it to a strike. The fear of strikes kept many people away from Greece in 2012.  Many Cretans (and most Greeks earning a living from tourism) are praying for a quiet spring.  That’s far from likely.

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3 Responses to Prospects for 2013

  1. Jerry Glover says:

    “As public opinion clamours for heads to roll we’re definitely headed for interesting times.”
    As part of those “interesting times,” check out a brand new website, which has only been running a few days but which is clearly a hit. Translated, the website name is “I gave a” and lists dozens, hundreds, soon to be thousands of stories from people who are fed up having to bribe politicians and civil servants to get a job done. There’s even a section of the website for folks who want to admit that they took a bribe. Simple people-power is driving a wave of transparency as a reaction to the evident ineptitude of politicians who cannot tackle public corruption without enmeshing themselves, since they all appear to have fingers in the cookie jar.

  2. david authers says:

    I understand that for some good hotels, e.g the Xenia in Chora Sfakion, 2012 was the best ever. The reason for this is simple: its clientiele come back year after year and as new folk discover the place so they too re-book. It is all a question of maintaining and improving standards and having a well-run and happy establishment.
    Apart from these occasional oases of prosperity, our friends in Athens are living through dire times indeed. It may just be the case that the worst is over for Greece …but all their recent problems stem back to their joining the euro by faking the figures and joining a currency that needed political unity as its driver – e.g the American $. The Euro community contains a huge range of countries, all sovereign and all with their own agendas and economic health.

    To my untrained eye there was still a lot of petty and not so petty tax evasion going on in Crete when last we visited in October 2012 – money in shops going into the till but nothing being rung up; no proper bills to pay in some places…cash, cash, cash….

    Endemic corruption will prove pretty difficult to root out, everywhere, not just in Greece (and I do not exclude the UK where live). Anyway, please continue to gladden our days with your marvellous photos for which we are very grateful.

  3. us tourist says:

    Hi! I’m interested in coming to Crete for my honey moon this summer but I wanted to ask how safe it is there. I am Jewish and I’m worried about the nazis. I’m just not sure if I’ll feel safe enough to really relax. How active are the geek nazis on Crete? I read a story that they attacked some homeless people on a main city there but the attackers may have already been arrested, unless the local government supports the nazis. I figured locals would know best. Thank you!

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