German tour operator TUI AG has asked Greek hoteliers to agree to sign new contracts which will delineate how the company will pay their bills in the event Greece exits the Eurozone and adopts a new currency.
TUI spokesman Robin Zimmermann told reporters on Sunday: As a responsible company, we should protect ourselves for a potential exit of Greece from the Eurozone.”
The tour operator cited that a sudden change in Greek currency would lead to a loss in value of the new Greek currency.
The German newspaper Bild reported that a letter sent by the company to its Greek clients stated: If the euro should no longer be the currency… TUI is entitled to pay the sum of money in the new currency. The exchange rate shall be made at the exchange rate set by the government.
A spokesman for the tour operator told the Financial Times: “Tui seeks to avoid the possibility of any adverse effect from the currency or macroeconomic situation and plan accordingly.”
However, Andreas Andreadis, The President of the Greek Tourist Board, told Bild: No [Greek] hotelier will do that and we turned to the Greek Ministry of Tourism. TUI cannot put pressure on hoteliers to sign such a thing.”
Reuters reported that tourism is a crucial part of Greece’s economy, representing about 20 percent of the nation’s GDP. Moreover, Germany – which sends about 2 million tourists to Greece annually – is a key part of that equation.
FT noted that other German companies, including auto rental firm Sixt, has already raised the prospect of Greek exiting the euro. In June, the company published an advertisement which read: “Dear Greeks, Sixt is accepting drachmas, again!”
The stunt reportedly led to death threats against Sixt employees by irate Greeks.