Greece is internationally recognized because of its attractive touristic attractions, including idyllic beaches and a relaxed lifestyle. The World Travel and Tourism Council stated that tourism was responsible for more than one-fifth the GDP of Greece before the pandemic.
The country saw a record number travel to the country during the summer tourism season. According to Vassilis Kikilias, the Greek Minister for Tourism, almost 1 million people visited the country in August.
ForwardKeys’ annual report on summer tourism showed that six of the top ten European “sun-and-beach” destinations had been identified by . These included Mykonos (Santorini), Thira (Santorini), and Heraklion, (Crete) as well as Thessaloniki. Athens, the capital of the country, was third for European “urban” destinations.
With 64 active cryptocurrency ATMs out of 27 EU member states, Greece is the sixth place. More than half of Greece’s cryptocurrency ATMs are located in Athens and Thessaloniki.
The Bitcoin ATM operator BCash strategically located some of its ATMs on the island destinations of Mykonos and Santorini. Cointelegraph spoke to Dimitrios Tsangalidis (BCash managing director, cofounder) about how crypto impacts or directly affects the tourism season in Greece.
Tsangalidis says that although Mykonos is the most popular tourist destination, Santorini and Mykonos are also very popular. However, traffic to the ATMs on the mainland has been the highest, especially in central Athens where the first ATM was placed, and Thessaloniki.
The co-founder pointed out that there was a very loyal cryptocurrency crowd in Crete, which is the most populous island of the country and also a popular tourist spot.
“Heraklion, Crete is home to a strong crypto community. This is also the location for one of our ATMs.”
H2B Hub, a local accelerator, collaborated with Nicosia University, a Greek-speaking university, to establish and support a local community of blockchain enthusiasts in Heraklion, Crete’s capital.
Athens and Thessaloniki both host regular, active meetups for members of the crypto or blockchain community.
Tsangalidis says that while tourism can help boost parts of the Greek economy it does not translate into the crypto scene. Tsangalidis says, “Unfortunately, it happens the absolute opposite.”
The demand falls in summer months and high-tourist seasons. It is difficult to predict the future because we are currently in crypto winter, which came earlier this year.
The decrease in traffic can be attributed to the departure of locals for vacation, especially when it comes to regular traffic.
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Tsangalidis summarizes that Greece needs to be more aware of cryptocurrency and their utility in daily life.
“Influence on local tourism is only possible if cryptocurrency is widely adopted in society.”
He also stated that there is currently little or no infrastructure for adoption at the local level of Greek government and businesses. Adoption will occur if the government becomes crypto-friendly and businesses are given the green light, he said.
Angela Gerekou (president of the Greek National Tourism Organization) stated in May that the country was currently investigating how blockchain technology could bring safety and transparency to tourism.