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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Qatar’s foreign ministry advises tourists heading to Greece to take cash

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Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece

Qatar residents who are planning to visit Greece this summer should take enough cash to cover their costs, but also take care to avoid being robbed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has said.

In a statement, the ministry reminded travelers that capital controls are still in place in Greece amid the country’s ongoing debt crisis, and that many bank ATMs there are not issuing cash.

Greece’s banks have been on the verge of collapse as Eurozone leaders held talks through last night and into this morning to reach an agreement on a bailout plan for the nation.

Early indications suggest a deal may have been reached, after Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted:

But no details have been revealed yet.

Greek banks shut at the end of June, and restricted people to withdrawing a maximum of €60 a day, in an attempt to avoid running out of cash.

Queue outside an ATM in Greece in June 2015
Queue outside an ATM in Greece in June 2015

However, many ATMs in the country have already run dry, and long queues have been reported at machines that are still issuing money, particularly in Athens and other big cities.

Earlier this week, CNBC quoted an unnamed banker as saying that Greek banks could run out of cash by today, unless the European Central Bank agrees to lend them more money.

The uncertainty has been taking its toll on tourism, with late holiday bookings to Greece falling sharply.

Compounding woes is a decision by several airlines, including Qatar Airways, to stop allowing Greek travel agents to sell their tickets, Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) told Reuters this week.

“We consider this inexcusably tough,” he said. “Even though they have been our partners for years and even though we have already paid 82 percent of what we owe to them during this season.”

Advice to travelers

In an advisory to Qatari citizens who are heading to Greece, MOFA said tourists should “carry enough cash to cover the accommodation expenses as ATMs are out of cash due to the closure of banks there.”

It did not specify which currency to pack, but euros are presumably the best choice, as banks are shut and will not be able to do exchanges.

However, travelers have also been advised not to have large amounts of cash on them while walking around, to avoid being robbed.

An unnamed official source at the ministry’s Consular Affairs Department added:

“Qatari nationals wishing to visit Greece should contact the hotel in advance before traveling to make sure that credit cards are accepted.”

The statement also reminded travelers that remittances from outside Greece are not being received.

In the event of any issues, tourists are advised to contact the Qatar Embassy in Athens at 00306940030007.

Some Qatar residents said they planned to heed the caution:

https://twitter.com/TeamPistonBroke/status/620487206478573568

However, one Qatar tourist to the Greek island of Rhodes said he has had no problem obtaining cash during his travels:

Are you planning to visit Greece this summer? What are your plans to pay for things?

33 COMMENTS

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Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

It might be worth clarifying that the telephone number you have provided above isn’t for ‘tourists’ it’s for ‘Qatari tourists’. The Qatari embassy isn’t there to provide assistance to one and all.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
5 years ago

in other news, qatari’s in greece carrying thousands of dollars in their pockets keep getting mugged for some reason

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I have seen on the news they have just found a deal with Tsipras so things will be back to normal soon.

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

it is sad to read such untruthful “news” in your site. i am on vacation in Crete Greece. you won’t face any problem to withdraw money from the ATM or just use your credit card on any transaction you might have in greece, those who have the limit due to capital control are those who have bank account in a greek bank and the reason is just to prevent big amount of those money to be transferred in other countries banks. The situation is total steady and under control. the other issue you mentioned was to get robbed. i can easily ensure you that Greece is one of the more secured country in the hole Europe zone and Balcane and this statement you can cross check it easily from statistic surveys all around the Internet. so come into Greece and enjoy the beauty of th sun and the beach…

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Robbery of tourists in the main tourists areas is a big problem in Greece. That is true in many tourists destinations around the world so its always wise to be careful. Try not to give the impression Greece is very safe, that is just not true.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Greece is not safe, compared to which country? Which are your standards of safety?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

I have no definite standard but no where is 100% safe and Greeks are desperate now, which means be careful.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Greeks are desperate, but carry more civilization than any other nationality. People who visit Greece should be more afraid of the illegal immigrants, not Greeks. Try to have a Greek friend, you will feel richer….

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

We owe a great debt to the ancient Greeks but like Egypt their best work was thousands of years ago. For the last 500 years the two countries have been basket cases.

You’re right about the illegal immigrants though, Greece is suffering due to its position. Maybe Qatar and Saudi should take in their Muslim brothers to help the Greeks.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If I only knew where are you comimg from, I might be able to tell you if you still owe anything to Greece today or not. Greece has been “a basket case” as you claim, for many reasons which I would let you know if you were truly interested. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t call a nation “basket case”

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

I don’t owe anything to the Greeks of today, (especially as they spent the last 10 years spending like drunken sailors and now expect the rest of Europe to pay their bills), however the Greeks of the past, the warmongering, slave owning, scientists, philisophers and inventors of democracy lite are owed a debt by humanity.
As they say in sport, you are only as good as your last game and the Greeks haven’t played a good game in over a 1000 years.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You only know what you read on the websites….I don’t blame you for having such an opinion for the Greeks, I could only blame you for not checking also the other part of the story….

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

The Greeks have been let down by their previous governments for getting themselves into this mess. They cheated to get into the Euro, (with the help of Goldman Sachs) and that was a not a good thing for the Greek economy. The governments then spent far too much money over the next few year so when the rain came they had no way out, no devaluation, very little to sell and a tiny tax base. The Germans and the French take some of the blame as well for letting Greece in the Euro when they knew their economy wasn’t up for it.

However I feel sorry for the German taxpayers, why should they give money to the Greeks to pay civil servants, buy essential supplies and fund retirees? If they give the Greeks more money now, they will be back in less than a year asking for more.
Greece will not improve anytime soon without some sort of debt relief, but the Greeks need to implement reforms as the rest of Europe will not pay for them forever.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Association of British Travel Agents: “Holidaymakers should check how much cash their travel insurance policy covers them for and should take appropriate security precautions against theft, such as using their hotel safe or splitting cash up between their party.”

Official UK Government travel guidance for the country states: “You should take appropriate security precautions against theft… Most visits to Greece are trouble-free, but theft of wallets and handbags are common on the metro and in crowded tourist places.”

Official Australian government advice “Petty crime is a serious issue and is on the increase in tourist areas and on public transport… Australians should exercise particular caution around tourist attractions in central Athens and the islands… Australians should at all times be alert using public transport and be extremely cautious on bus and train routes to and from the airport as pickpocketing, bag snatching and even the slashing of luggage resulting in theft of personal belongings are regular occurrences.”

US State Department warns: “Crimes against tourists (such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching) occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation — especially the Metro— and in some shopping areas in and around Thessaloniki… If you travel by Metro, keep track of your belongings at all times… Thieves ride the trains in from the Athens Airport, so be especially vigilant when using this transportation.”

(Maybe all this is a racist, western conspiracy from media with an agenda, fueled by jealousy….)

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

And I have been recently to Berlin (is it a “civilized” city of a “civilized” country??) and when we reched the so called “check point Charlie”, we were asked to remove our wallets and put them in our front pockets and hold them tight, as there is massive pickpocketing. I guess this is not happening in UK, Australia and US…right??

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

You’re either trolling or having difficulty following rhetoric. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter.

Mike: Accuses Doha News of running “untruthful news”. He disputes that Doha News is providing accurate advice to readers.

Andrew: Provides quotations that show that in addition to the travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar, various other state run travel advisory groups have also expressed concern for the safety of travelers in Greece.

Yorpap counters this argumentative thread by discussing… the safety of travelers in Germany??? And comparing Germany to UK, Australia and the US??? WTH? Are you able to follow an argument? Or are you content to come off looking bitter and twisted?

If you hadn’t already noticed, this is a Doha News story about Greece. Berlin isn’t in Greece, it’s in Germany. It may start with the same letter, and share a vowel, and yes, it’s in Europe, but beyond that it’s a different country.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

I definitely try to follow your rhetoric, maybe I am not that inteligent and I sound as if I am trolling. I need to apologize then to a superior human being like you, with a higher level of education, rhetoric and well hidden sarcasm.
Mike: “accuses” Doha news etc….because he is in Greece enjoying his vacation, spending his money that he gets from the ATMs and hasn’t been robbed yet.
Andrew : accepts easily and digests the chewed food he gets from websites, or takes as granted what is suggested by travel advisory groups.
Yorpap: just stated a fact, for a country/city (as an example) where there are are no concerns from travel advisory groups

For your closing argument, I prefer not to reply… I just did not appreciate your cheap sarcasm

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Making plans for holidays is hard these days, Tunisia some religious crazies will shoot you, Greece has no money and a lot of shops only accept cash now as their card machines are all ‘broken’, (think about it, its easier to hide cash transactions and not pay any tax on them), India has a heatwave, little a/c and poor sanitation so that is out. Pakistan is only for those with a death wish, France is likely to be attacked by home grown Islamic terrroists, ditto Britain. Yemen is being smashed to pieces, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Lebanaon are over flowing with refugees. Egypt is likley to experience another major terrorist attack on tourists at any time. Saudi is so boring even God wouldn’t go there on holiday, so that leaves very little left. Forget America as well, its full of Americans.

I guess I might try the Gobi desert this year.

zeit
zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

go to antartica. promise you won’t be missed.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Morocco is still fine and a beautiful place to visit.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yes but a bit dangerous and full of very friendly ladies.

Kk
Kk
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

So be a friendly man and help them ;);)

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

you forgot you could get killed by some nutcase in america cause you know in America, guns are their birthright.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Yep, 30000 gun murders a year is insanity but they won’t enact strict gun control.

Kk
Kk
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The lobbyists wield so much power that even the president is powerless in front of them and all he can do is make statements after every massacre.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Kk

That is sad but true. Americans are crazy to accept this.

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
5 years ago

I suppose if some Qataris take their pocket money with them on holiday to Athens, they could probably buy the whole country and still get change. There are already some completed sports stadia lying empty after the Olympics which they could use for part of WC2022 and be close for fans of the European teams to get to cheaply.
Looks like a win-win situation for all.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  wee_johnnie

try to be less sarcastic for Greece and its people…

Zeit
Zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

You are on DN where self righteous people try to scorn qataris using any connection.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  Zeit

I have been noticing that, for the past 3 years that I am in Qatar.
I still have the same opinion, since day one…They can ask for an exit permit for ay reason, travel back to their perfect countries and never come back. I don’t think that any of these righteous people, as you called them, are blue collars without options…

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Yorpap

Sarcastic? The father Emir did famously buy half a dozen Greek islands not long back for about $11 million. And a key part of the new bailout deal agreed yesterday was to raise approx 50 billion Euros through the sale of ‘valuable assets’ including more islands.

This is what your PM has agreed, it’s not sarcasm.

Yorpap
Yorpap
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Just to be accurate, the father Emir bought 7 rocky islands, that nobody lives there, at the Ionaian sea (between Greece and Italy). That is his only “investement” in Greece. What would you think for Qatari investements in UK and France? Are these countries “ON SALE” too???

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

it is sad to read such untruthful “news” in your site. i am on vacation in Crete Greece. you won’t face any problem to withdraw money from the ATM or just use your credit card on any transaction you might have in greece, those who have the limit due to capital control are those who have bank account in a greek bank and the reason is just to prevent big amount of those money to be transferred in other countries banks. The situation is total steady and under control. the other issue you mentioned was to get robbed. i can easily ensure you that Greece is one of the more secured country in the hole Europe zone and Balcane and this statement you can cross check it easily from statistic surveys all around the Internet. so come into Greece and enjoy the beauty of th sun and the beach…

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