TRAVEL

Greece Fuel Strike Dampens Tourism At Height Of Season

07/30/2010 03:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Friday, Greece announced that it will employ military and navy trucks, as well as navy vessels and fuel tankers to restore gas supplies that have been cut due to a strike that has curdled the tourism industry, according to the Associated Press.

The protest, which is in its fifth day, is being led by truckers upset by budget cuts by the Government.

The strike comes at the height of tourism season in the already-hurting Greece. "This is a catastrophe. The decision was taken on the busiest day of the year, at peak season ... I don't know what's worse, what is actually happening today or the bad publicity this is giving us," George Telonis, head of the Greek Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies, told The Associated Press.

"The season so far has not gone too badly, with about a 3 percent drop on the year, despite all the strikes and difficulties ... because we have a very strong product. But I am very worried that damage will be done if this strike continues," he added.

Tourism experts are speculating that the strike will decrease last minute bookings and in-country excursions to beaches and tourist sites, due to the lack of fuel. Much of northern Greece's resorts are accessible most easily by car; those bookings have dropped more than 15%.

"We are helping customers find open gas stations so that they can get home," said Grigoris Tasios, head of the Halkidiki Hotel Association, told the AP. "About one or two gas stations are currently supplied in a 50-kilometer (30-mile) radius, when normally there would be at least 10."

"This has taken a toll on mainland resorts. You won't set out to a resort if you're not sure if you can fill up your gas tank," George Amvrazis, managing director of the Greek Hotel Federation, said. "This current protest, together with all the others, has set the Greece brand back for years."

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