Greek tourism board lashes out at Dutch travel agents

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The Greek Tourist Board criticized the Dutch travel agent association ANVR after advising tourists headed for Greece to take extra cash with them. The recommendation was made in case Greek banks are no longer able to replenish ATMs, either because of a national bankruptcy or because of a bank run.

"ANVR is grossly exaggerating, it is not necessary to take extra money on Holiday in Greece," said Eleni Skraveli, director of the Greek Tourism Board office in Amsterdam. "All ATMs still work. We have not received any complaints."

Skraveli pointed to an increasing number of Dutch tourists in Greece, which rose by 13 percent last year. "Everything is normal. If it were otherwise, I would tell you that honestly," she told newspaper AD.

Economists present a different opinion. The recommendation of ANVR is reasonable, thinks economist Sweder van Wijnbergen. "If the ECB stops financing Greece, a bank run can follow shortly afterwards. The same happened in Cyprus two years ago," he commented to the newspaper.

Roel Beetsma, a professor of macroeconomics at UvA, also backed the recommendation of ANVR. "A run on banks is conceivable. In fact, Greeks have already withdrawn substantial funds," he said. "As a traveler you may be in trouble if no more euros come out of the hole in the wall."

Greece is currently holding negotiations with its creditors regarding the reforms it should make to receive additional financial assistance. In two weeks, the country is facing a debt repayment of 1.6 billion euros to the IMF, potentially leaving the country without cash.