EU-Wide Strike on September 29, 2010

August 25, 2010 on 10:09 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Greece Travel, Italy travel, Spain Travel, england travel, strikes and travel | Comments Off

On September 29, 2010 many of Europe’s trade unions are planing an EU-wide protest against the austerity measures imposed by governments in the region. For more details see this excellent article published by the European Voice.

While numerous pan-European actions are still being considered, there are currently plans for strikes in Spain, Italy, Portugal and a mass demonstration in Brussels (that could exceed 70,000 participants).

If you plan on traveling in the EU during this period, be prepared for some inconvenience. We recommend avoiding Brussels on September 29, as the demonstration is being held in advance of a meeting of the EU Finance Ministers in the city on the 30th and 31st of September.

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No Fuel for Travel in Greece?

July 28, 2010 on 8:29 am | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

The truck strike continues in Greece and the result is that most areas are running out of fuel. For each 10 gas stations in Athens, only 2 have fuel to sell. In some areas of the country, especially those preferred by tourists, there appears to be no gasoline available. Gee what a great way to spend your vacation in Greece. Read the details at Ekathimerini. For a another view of the problem, see this article by the Wall Street Journal.

The fuel shortage is especially problematic for tour buses and their customers and may lead to a sharp reduction in the number of groups touring the country. In addition to fuel, there are supply problems with produce, especially fruit and vegetables, due to the strike.

The strike by the truckers is related to the government’s plan to increase competition in the trucking industry in 2013, a move that is, apparently, unacceptable to the owners/operators of trucks. At this point there is no way of telling when the strike will halt or how difficult the situation will become in Greece.

The strike is unfortunate for the travel industry in Greece, as vacation travelers were starting to return to the country and incoming air traffic over the last month experienced a significant upsurge. We suspect that this will continue to be a summer of discontent in Greece, at least for travelers, if not for the whole country.

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Greece Travel News – A Broken Record?

July 2, 2010 on 7:18 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel restrictions | 1 Comment

According to the Wall Street Journal and a number of other sources, the sixth general strike of the year will be held in Greece next Thursday, July 8. While the support for the general strikes has been declining, they still close the country’s transportation network, which is, of course, bad news for travelers, especially those hoping to reach the Greek Islands.

Our advice: Avoid Athens next Thursday and count on public travel being unavailable.

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More Trouble For Travelers in Greece

June 29, 2010 on 8:56 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The BBC published a story today about the current Greek strike that is stranding tourists by the boatload. The public service employees strike has shut down transportation and medical services in much of the country. Of interest to travelers, ferry passage to the Greek Islands from Piraeus (Athens) is now closed. Air travel, while sometimes a good alternative for travel to some of the Greek Islands was also shut down by the strikers. The current strike comes on the back of another ferry strike last week that was ruled illegal by the Greek courts, but the police did not enforce the ruling and the passengers were stranded.

This summer is the worst strike season in Greece in recent memory. The strike situation, a result of the country’s economic problems, has been prolonged and many think that it may come to a climax in the near future. We suspect that the “strike environment” will last the entire summer, but our opinion appears to be a minority one, at present.

While Greece and the Greek Islands have much to offer the tourist, no one wants to travel with the uncertainty posed by the current situation. The disasterous economic conditions, combined with the reduction in tourist trade caused by the strikes, will certainly drive some of the tourist operations in Greece out of business and undoubtedly harm those that manage to survive this year’s problem. Perhaps, more importantly, the situation is destined to sour many visitors from considering vacation travel to Greece now or in the future.

If you have travel plans that include visiting Greece over the rest of the summer, be prepared for delays and unexpected interruptions due to strikes and possible civil disorder.

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Greece Tries a New Lure

June 22, 2010 on 12:36 pm | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, international travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | Comments Off

Tourism in Greece has suffered this year as parades, demonstrations and riots have been common responses to the country’s economic woes. Because the government required outside funding to resolve its budgetary crisis, it was required, as a debtor, to make some severe cutbacks to the country’s social budgets and these changes are extremely unpopular. The violent responses to the governements programs have caused some travelers to avoid Greece this summer, although the trend may slowly be reversing.

In order to lure the travelers back, the government of Greece is now willing to pay the cost of tourists who are stranded in Greece due to industrial action or natural disaster. Read about this program in this announcement from the BBC. If the news sways you, see the ThereArePlaces guide to the best places to visit in Greece and start your travel planning.

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This Week’s Strikes and Other Impediments to Travel

May 19, 2010 on 9:20 am | In Europe travel, Greece Travel, London travel, air travel, international travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, volcano travel warning | Comments Off

Another general strike against the government’s austerity plans is scheduled in Greece for tomorrow (Thursday). The prognosis is that the strike will disrupt public services and most transport, except air travel. Read about it at Kathimerini

Also, in the same publication is an article indicating that hotel occupancy in Greece is down 10 percent. In turn, the hotels have responded with price cuts reported at the 10 percent level. We suspect that bargains may be struck by those inclined to haggle (and it could be a prolonged haggle).

In the UK, the situation with the BA strike appears unsettled. Although the strike was banned by the courts, it still caused 20,000 cancellations yesterday and will likely have the same influence today. In addition, the cabin crews are seeking to have the courts overturn the injunction on striking. See this updated article in Bloomberg – Business Week for more details.

The Iceland volcano caused problems over the weekend for flights in the UK and Ireland and yesterday in the eastern Mediterranean. Britain and Ireland have relaxed the rules for flying in “ash cloud” situations. Read this article from The New York Times for more details.

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Strikes Continue In Greece

March 17, 2010 on 8:52 am | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 2 Comments

Greece is reeling from a fresh round of strikes. Doctors are striking over government payments they feel are being delayed without reason and, as a result, many state-run hopsitals are on “emergency” staffing. At the same time workers in the power industry are striking and this has caused blackouts in part of the country. Not to be left out, government workers joined the fray claiming that the government was unfairly focusing on the public sector to remedy the problems with its economic policies. Oh, gas stations will be on strike tomorrow. See the Kathimerini Times for more detail.

We know this is the time of year that many of you will be planning your vacations and Greece and the Greek Islands are always a popular choice. We think the strikes will make travel in Greece more difficult this year and you may want to limit your time on the mainland, if the financial crisis has not cooled down by the summer.

Strikes are a political reality in Greece and we suspect you can still have a great vacation in Greece this year, as long as you plan ahead. The most critical issue for travelers will be transportation. Make sure that you have back-up plans for air travel or for the use of ferries between the islands. Go with the flow – if you cannot travel and spend another day touring the attractions where you are “stuck”. If there is a strike that influences transportation, it is likely that other travelers will not be able to get to where you are and you may be able to extend your accommodations for another night with little problem. If you are driving the mainland, make sure you gas-up your car daily, as strikes will undoubtedly close petrol stations or influence the availability of fuel.

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Stikes and Travel in Greece

February 4, 2010 on 2:57 pm | In Greece Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Greece has been unusally hard hit by the current economic downturn and the problem is reflecting itself in strikes, border stoppages and other unrest. See this article from the BBC on the current strike.

At present the budget deficit in Greece is over four times higher than Eurozone rules permit. The government of Greece is responding to these measures with an austerity budget that will limit governmental spending, increas the retirement age and add a higher gas tax. It is likely that further measures will be needed to rectify the situation and, if this is the case, the citizens of Greece will likely respond with wide-spread strikes that influence both the public and private sectors.

The 2010 travel season in Greece might be a little rocky. In normal years, strikes in Greece seem to pop-up frequently, although most do not last long. It is possible that this season will be the exception, with more and longer strikes. Farmers have already closed roads to Bulgaria as a show of their unhappiness with the government’s lack of financial subsidies and we suspect other strikes will occur this spring and summer

If you are going to travel to Greece this year, be prepared. If your travel is interrupted by a strike, well, we can’t think of a better place to be stuck for a few extra days. Perhaps the best way to try to avoid the influence of strikes on your next vacation in Greece, is to take a cruise of the Greek Islands and let the cruise line worry about the strikes.

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Athens and Copenhagen – Not This Week!

December 6, 2009 on 9:26 pm | In Denmark travel, Greece Travel, country travel information, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

As you may know, Athens was the scene of violent demonstrations this weekend on the anniversary of the fatal shooting of a teenager by the police. The death has become a cause for what has been labeled in the International press as “a student anarchist movement.” We are not sure how the classify the unrest, other than to note our recommendation the travelers avoid central Athens during the next week. Check with news sources in Athens for more detailed information.

Another location to avoid for next two weeks is Copenhagen, as the city is hosting the international Summit On Climate Change. By all accounts the city is brimming with security, in addition to the 15,000 delegates and 100 world leaders who will attend over the next two weeks. See this article by the BBC for detailed information. It is expected that there will be numerous demonstrations in Copenhagen by those dissatisfied the both the status quo and the pace of the talks, since it is not expected that any major agreements will be signed during the meeting.

Our recommendations is that travelers who want to see Copenhagen, but have nothing to do with the Climate Summit avoid the city until the Summit has ended. Hotel rooms are in short supply, restuarant service will be slow, the crowds will be huge and the demonstrations could get ugly.

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It’s Time To Travel – And Plan Travel

July 14, 2009 on 9:15 pm | In Air Sale, Europe travel, Greece Travel, Hawaii travel, Mexico travel, ocean cruising, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

Sorry for the lack of news lately, but our teams have been…traveling! Yep, we travel summer, winter, spring, and fall. In fact, we’re on the go just about anytime we can arrange it. And right now is a great time to plan a getaway.

While the airlines and cruise industries seem to be having serious problems due to the state of the economy (e.g. airline ticket revenues are down 25 percent for the first half of the year and many of the big boats are sailing with a lower occupancy than last year), sometimes there are silver linings to be found in “dark clouds”. We have noticed that several major airlines are still discounting tickets to Europe and there are some amazing cruise deals to be found for touring Mexico and Alaska. At this point, it looks like discounts on travel fares and accommodations may last into the fall.

While we realize that it is difficult for families to travel once school starts again in September, if you have the opportunity you should consider a vacation this fall to take advantage of the lower levels of leisure travel and the discounts that seems to be resulting from this phenomenon. Autumn is a wonderful time to tour Europe, although the weather can get “iffy” in northern Europe in late November and December. If you are thinking about soaking up the sun, Hawaii is great in the fall, as is coastal Mexico. Of course, the Greek islands can be magnificent in September and October, although you need to make sure that your favorite place to stay has survived this year’s slow summer travel season.

In other words, our advice is “GO”, whenever you have the chance. While travel is our business, it is also our avocation. We find travel educational, relaxing, enjoyable and important to our well-being. There are so many places to go, so many interesting places to discover and so many wonderful people to meet that we are already anticipating our turn to enjoy the world of travel. When will it be your turn?

Yep. We know. You want to wait just a little bit longer. Maybe next year? Maybe the economy will improve? If that is your position, we think someone may be giving you bad advice. We all hope that the economy improves, but we can guarantee you that as the economy improves, the price of travel will rise accordingly. Now is the time that you should be able to find bargains that you may never, ever see again in the world of travel.

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