The ongoing financial volatility in Greece is likely to spill out onto the streets over the next few weeks. There will be a referendum this Sunday, which asks whether Greece should accept bail-out conditions from their international creditors, but it is also seen as a proxy for the real question: Should Greece remain part of the European Union?

During this time there are two key risks for travellers to Greece. Firstly, as banks are currently closed for fear of a panicked run on the banks, getting funds in Greece will be tough. If the situation continues for a week or more, essential items may be difficult to get also. Many banks have put restrictions on ATM withdrawals with a maximum daily withdrawal limit of 60 Euro. There is concern that banks may actually run out of currency altogether as early as next week.

The second risk is a personal safety concern, as it is likely that protests and potentially riots will occur in Athens after the result of the referendum is announced.

With 25% unemployment and 50% youth unemployment, tensions are running high. There is a lot of confusion and the people’s faith in the Government is very low. To draw a parallel, much of the violence during the Arab Spring can be linked to extremely high youth unemployment in countries such as Egypt.

Since ATM access cannot be relied upon, travellers to Greece should ensure that they carry enough cash into the country. Travellers should avoid government buildings, particularly if protests are occurring. Protests could turn violent with little or no notice. If they do occur, it is likely that protests will be focused in Athens moreso than the Greek Islands or in rural areas.

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