Dispatch, Greece: Crisis averted


Travel Weekly contributing editor Felicity Long explored Mykonos on July 10 with her daughter as part of a weeklong Celestyal cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey, noting her impression of how the Greece crisis is affecting the tourism experience. Her second dispatch follows; read her first dispatch here.

Mykonos draws some 1.5 million visitors a year, and all of them seemed to be on the island today, apparently unfazed by the ongoing crisis that has dominated the news in recent days.

In fact, most of the crowds wandering around this picturesque island, located some three hours from Athens by hydrofoil, were tourists, but after all, so were we, and it was that tourist experience we were most interested in exploring.

Shops bustled, restaurants and cafes were crowded and the famous windmills that are de riguer for every tourist snapshot were mobbed by visitors taking selfies.

In fact, young men with selfie sticks trolled the windmill site offering to let visitors rent them for a fee.

This preponderance of hawkers is the most notable change our guide, Antonis, has seen as a result of the crisis.

Unemployment is so high, he said, that nonprofessional guides -- in other words, "anyone with a microphone" -- are cruising the tender docks waiting to take tourists on what Antonis described as inferior tours. A licensed guide himself, he bristled at the idea of visitors being taken around by just anyone.

The influx of tourists, on the other hand, has remained robust, he said.

Celestyal Cruises hired Antonis directly, but he recommended that visitors not on shore excursions should ask to see a guide's license before agreeing to a tour.

Mykonos is shopping heaven, especially for high-end brands, and shopkeepers are accepting credit cards for the most part. If you are springing for a cab, however, expect to pay in cash.

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