Chart of Day: Honey, Greece is Cheap! Wait, Greece is Scary!

Tourism plays a central role in Greece’s economy. Anything that makes people less (or more) likely to holiday in the Mediterranean country is potentially very bad (good) for the economy. Tourism, after all, accounts for about 16% of GDP, and one in five jobs.

So, given what’s going on, what has happened to interest in taking a little Greek holiday? As the following Google graph I put together shows, interest in vacationing in the country had mostly been flat-lining until mid April, at which point interesting things began happening.

First, interest spiked higher. Why did that happen? Likely because specials galore were popping up, with tour operators doing everything in their power to convince people to consider Greece, despite the nasty news flow.


But check what happened next. Starting at the beginning of this month interest in a holiday in Greece fell sharply. Sure, it was cheap, tourists were likely thinking, but scenes of rioting anti-austerity sorts really narrows to reporters and soccer hooligans the demographic of people likely to consider coming for a week of fun.

This is all a) understandable and b) bad. Greece’s austerity program is necessarily harsh in the first place, but an unwillingness on the part of tourists to holiday in the country will make the country’s economic situation much worse than its government’s current worst case scenario. It will, if it continues, guarantee that the country misses its fiscal policy objectives, making more volatile an already dangerous situation.