European Crisis and the Effect on Greece’s Travel Safety – 5 Things To Watch For in 2012
Greece, a country that has everything, is now experiencing hard times in its history. The financial crisis that has affected almost all sectors of the Greek economy also affected tourism. The vacation industry in Greece is one of the major sources of income for the country. If you do decide to
1. Strikes and there effect on Transportation and Waste management.
Visitors should expect regular strikes. These are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports) and to waiste management services. The city is currently dealing with a crisis in garbage which has also become a health hazard.
Demonstrations regularly take place around Syntagma Square in central Athens. Demonstrations have also taken place in a limited number of other towns and cities. You should avoid demonstrations and protests and observe instructions and advice given by local security authorities. Violent incidents have occurred at and in the margins of such protests.
The U.S. Government and State Department report that they remain deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Like other countries that are members of the Schengen Agreement for free cross-border movement, Greece’s open borders with other members of the EU’s Schengen zone allow for the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. As the first entry point into Schengen from points south and east, Greece’s long coastline and many islands increase the possibility that foreign-based terrorists might try to enter Europe through its borders.
You should take the usual safety precautions you would in any urban or tourist area during a visit to Greece. Crimes against tourists (such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching) occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation – especially the Metro – and in some shopping areas in and around Thessaloniki. If you travel by Metro, keep track of your purse/backpack/wallet at all times. Thieves will often try to create a diversion to draw your attention away from your immediate surroundings. These diversions can include “accidentally” sneezing or spilling something on you and loudly accusing you of having bumped into them.
Medical facilities are adequate, and some, particularly the private clinics and hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki, are quite good. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities, and generally their staff doctors have been trained in the United States or Europe.
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