Ottawa has warned Canadians travelling to Greece to expect long lines at ATMs amid a shortage of hard currency throughout the country, and to have more than one means of payment, including enough cash to cover all travel expenses.
The €60 ($83) daily withdrawal limit imposed by the Greek government does not apply to credit or debit cards issued abroad, meaning most travellers should be unaffected, especially if they have prepaid for most of their vacation.
At most Canadian banks, the withdrawal limit at overseas ATMs is the equivalent of a client's daily limit in Canada, commonly $500 or more, depending on the size of the account.
Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura told Greek media that "the tourists that are currently in Greece as well as those that are going to come will not be in the least affected by the latest developments and can continue to enjoy their vacations in Greece without the slightest problem."
Diane Kiparisas, a travel agent at Skyway Tours in Toronto, received an e-mail from a Canadian client vacationing in Mykonos on Monday: "Relaxing by the pool, life doesn't get better than this. You would never know there's a problem here, people are spending like crazy."
At Toronto-based National Travel Service Inc., which runs GreekEscapes.com, owner Fotoula Kakagiannis said clients currently in Greece have not called to express concerns, nor have clients with packages to Greece booked in the coming weeks. "Greeks are very hospitable, things will work out okay, " she said.
None of the major Canadian banks has found cause enough to issue notices to clients who may be in or are planning to travel to Greece. Maura Drew-Lytle, director of communications at the Canadian Bankers Association, said while the Association does not issue advisories, sometimes banks may do so for their clients.