Migrants Supporting Tourism
The tourism industry in the Greek islands relies heavily on the contribution of immigrants, according to reports. In the larger islands of Greece, immigrants from Eastern Europe comprise about 40 percent of the staff in the tourism sector in low levels, working in hotels, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, while management level positions in those establishments are generally held by Greek citizens or Western Europeans.
The situation is exactly the opposite in the case of Crete where Germans, French and Italians manage a large number of establishments in the tourism industry, particularly where the clientele is generally from those same countries, while Greek workers have only lower level positions open to them.
Despite requiring staff having specialized skills and training, the management of many tourist establishments settle for seasonal workers willing to work for low wages. According to Giorgos Sariklakis, president of the Ierapetra Association of Tourism Businesses, as much as 95% of the workers in the hospitality industry in Crete have never attended any tourism-related courses.