Swedish tourists head to Greece despite crisis

Swedish tourists head to Greece despite crisis
Greek riot police throw tear gas as at protesters in Athens on June 15th
Greece's spiraling economic and political crisis has done little to dissuade Swedes' from choosing the Mediterranean country as a holiday destination, Swedish travel companies report.

Travel companies Ving and Fritidsresor have both reported a 10 percent increase in bookings to Greece this summer compared to last year.

“We’ve seen a huge interest in Greece ahead of this summer,” Ving spokesperson Magdalena Öhrn told the TT news agency.

Ving’s sends most of its Greece-bound Swedish travelers to Rhodes and Crete.

The strength of the Swedish krona against the euro and political unrest in other popular holiday destinations such as Tunisia and Egypt, are seen as two explanations as to why so many Swedes have chosen to travel to Greece during the summer holidays, despite widespread demonstrations in Athens and an economy on the brink of bankruptcy.

“Earlier this year we saw a huge increase to Turkey when the krona was a little weaker against the euro. But now we’re also seeing a big increase to Greece,” said Eva Olivecrona, a spokesperson with Fritidsresor, to TT.

On its website, the Swedish foreign ministry says that Greece is going through a severe economic crisis which has resulted in drastic wage cuts for public sector employees, tax hikes, and cuts in social benefits.

The measures have sparked widespread demonstrations and strikes, primarily in Athens and Thessaloniki.

“Most often, the demonstrations have been calm but demonstrations can spiral into violence. The embassy urges Swedes to avoid large crowds and public demonstrations,” the foreign ministry warns on its website.

Charter company Thomas Cook has also reported that the number of trips sold to Greece this summer ahs increased by 13 percent compared to last summer, according to UK newspaper The Guardian.

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