27 February 2012

Brilliant Joke!

Angela Merkel telling her people: Patience, my countrymen. We will soon be moving to our new country with sunshine, beaches and warm seas. We are just about to sign the contract.

Bothered and Bewildered

It's weird living in Greece just now. I think I mentioned before that when I first came to live in Greece it was NEVER mentioned in the British press. Any statistics on the EU simply did not include our little corner of Europe. What a change, then, to be headline news almost every day.

Someone, somewhere, has led a very successful smear campaign against Greece, taking a few facts which cannot be denied, and exaggerating them until even we are beginning to believe that everyone is on the take and totally beyond redemption. So it is good to read something that contradicts any of the widely held opinions. An article on the BBC News website shows that Greeks work MORE hours than anywhere else in Europe.

22 February 2012

Finally, some sort of agreement!

After all the to-ing and fro-ing, will they? wont they? will it work? we finally have some kind of resolution. No one is pretending that this is the final answer to all the problems of Greece's economy, but the hope is that it will bring some kind of stability and with it the chance of gradually expanding the economy.

We have involvement in tourism as well as the estate agency and it is our hope that with this 'new dawn' will come politicians with more open minds, more interest in new ideas, more respect for the value of tourism, and acceptance that one of the ways to help the economy is to encourage foreign investment; whether it be on a large scale such as foreign companies investing in hotel/golf/marina developments in Greece, or on a small scale, such as foreigners doing what they do best here, buying the houses they love, bringing their families, spending money with local businesses, and in some cases, letting their properties and therefore bringing a wider range of people here, who in their turn spread the word of how lovely Corfu can be.

However, it does need radical thinking from our politicians - encourage these investors, don't penalise them, don't drive them crazy with bureaucracy, help them to make money for Greece and ensure its future!

18 February 2012

Corfu blog

For those of you who have not yet found their way to Angie's Corfu blog, this is an article that reflects how many of us feel who currently live in Greece. We are not Greek, but we feel part of the community, as so many people do even if they have only moved here in recent years.

We are all Greeks today

And now, something very nice for all Greeks who are definitely beginning to feel like the scapegoats for all EU failings.

Some nice bits here and here on Facebook, originating in France I think, which asks the rest of Europe to support Greece as it says 'We are all Greeks today'.

17 February 2012

From the Guardian - thank heavens for small mercies!

There is a lot more to the article, including a brief analysis of what could happen with a return to the drachma if it should ever happen, but generally speaking it is considerably more sensible than most of what is currently beng printed.

The number of people planning to visit Greece has slightly increased from 8%-9% over the past 12 months, research shows

The Greek islands are still a popular destination for UK tourists despite the ongoing social and economic turmoil. Photograph: Getty
Riots in Athens and economic turmoil have failed to dent holiday bookings to Greece, holiday and research companies are reporting.

The number of people planning to visit Greece has slightly increased from 8% in February 2011 to 9% in February 2012, according to independent market research company BDRC Continental.

Steve Mills, a director of the company, said this was "positive for Greece considering the turmoil, and in marked contrast to Egypt where the percentage considering a holiday has declined from 8% down to 6%."

Travel website HomeAway said booking enquiries were up 32% in January 2012 compared to the same month in 2011. Spokeswoman Sarah Chambers said: "We experience growth in overall enquiries every year, but this is above the site average, so indicates Greece is doing fine."

The travel group Tui, which includes the Thomson and First Choice brands, said its bookings were in line with expectations. "Our customer service teams have not noticed an increase in calls from concerned customers regarding their holidays to Greece. The protests are happening on the mainland, a considerable distance from the islands to which we operate," a spokeswoman said.

"We believe consumer confidence has not been impacted by these protests in Athens, and we have no major concerns heading into the busy summer season. It is very much business as usual in our resorts and we will continue to closely monitor the situation."


11 February 2012

Press coverage for Corfu - and its it's not all negative!

The Saturday Telegraph has published an article about Greece, with a good section on Corfu, and although of course it couldn't avoid mentioning the current financial nightmare, it does have quite a few positive points.

Similarly, the London Evening Standard had a lengthy article yesterday which did discuss the property situation in relation to the financial crisis, but also made mention that the tourist industry was likely to benefit from the drop in prices, coupled with extensions of flights to Corfu from Ryanair and Easyjet. One of the lovely quotes reflects how we feel about Corfu...

'The pleasures that make Greece an attractive second-home market include a long sunshine season, bags of culture, a hapy island race and a sybaritic lifestyle based around the sea - the Ionian island of Corfu has all of these. The pace of life is gentle, the landscape beautiful and dotted with olive groves, and there is little of the crime or the overt shows of wealth that blight some other top-end hotspots'.

Couldn't have put it better ourselves,

7 February 2012

Could this be the beginning of a very very small silver lining?

Hotel prices in Greece are dropping by as much as 20%, according to TripAdvisor.

Its examination of nine popular Greek destinations shows that all but two have seen hotel rates drop significantly since a year ago.

The biggest fall was in Corfu, where hotel rates have dropped on average by 20%.

"While the Greek economy has experienced a traumatic year, the silver lining for tourism could be an increase in visitors due to the lower prices in many of its popular destinations," said Emma Shaw, a TripAdvisor spokesperson.

"There are some excellent hotel deals to be had in Greece at the moment, and with hotel prices coming down, it could be a great time for Brits to plan a 2012 holiday to Greece."

Add to this a couple of tour operators who say they have seen an increase in bookings for Corfu, and maybe, just maybe, things are looking up. The problem is of course that hoteliers and apartment owners here are already struggling, and a price drop is the last thing they need But at least it is movement of a kind which can't be all bad. I hope.

1 February 2012

On the subject of UK v Corfu

The washing machine saga continued (see previous blog).

A replacement machine for the 'new' broken one was due last Thursday morning. At 3.00 pm the delivery man called to say they were 10 minutes away. When they arrived I went downstairs with great relief to find 'Got a problem luv - wrong machine'. I totally freaked since were were leaving the next morning. He said 'You can't keep this one, its more expensive than the one you ordered and we don't know when you can have that one.' Frantic calls to Tesco and they agreed to leave us the wrong one, to use until it could be changed for the one we actually ordered. After several rounds of 'What part of leaving tomorrow don't you understand?' they agreed that I should phone when someone will be in to receive the new one.

So now we are the proud temporary owners of a very large washing machine - when what we actually wanted was a compact washer/dryer - and we will probably have to pay more for the privilege since there is no way we can face going through the whole non-delivery process again.

There's a lot wrong with Corfu but at least you can find a person to shout at face to face when everything goes wrong, and they have a personal interest in fixing things for you. There's a lot to be said for that.