Greece’s recent “bank holiday” and the restrictions on cash withdrawals for Greeks led to a 70 percent drop in ferry bookings, recent press reports revealed.
Although the banks in Greece are now open, the country’s coastal shipping sector is expressing concern due to a halt noticed in bookings for domestic travel by Greek holidaymakers in the middle of the summer season.
Some 60 percent of the total annual revenue of coastal shipping companies comes from the summer months, while from mid July to late August, the majority of passengers travelling on ferries is Greek. Data provided by the Greek Passenger Shipping Companies Association (SEEN) shows that some 8.7 million passengers traveled in 2014 for tourism purposes. Out of that figure, 5.2 million passengers were Greek and 3.4 million were foreigners.
Meanwhile, it has also been noticed that Greeks are mainly opting for short weekend getaways to islands closest to Athens, such as Aegina, instead of travelling to more distant destinations due to high costs.
Ferry tickets in Greece are now 10 percent more expensive for passengers, following the recent increase in the value-added tax (VAT) rate from 13 percent to 23 percent on many basic goods and services in the country.
Following the VAT increase on ferry tickets, coastal shipping companies are now launching offers to attract more passengers.