Greece won't lose competitive edge: Tourism official

Tourism spending in Greece

While Greek tourism officials are concerned about the effects of the debt crisis on the industry, they are working hard to keep everything running smoothly for visitors, the general manager of the Greek Tourism Confederation said Tuesday.

In fact, despite the political turmoil, the travel industry has been going strong this year, Alexandros Lamnidis said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"We are concerned, we are planning ahead but we are rather optimistic that we shall overcome," he said. "Tourism is the main industry of the country, and we cannot afford to lose our competitive edge and we're not going to."

As part of a deal for more financial support from the euro zone, Athens must pass sweeping austerity measures that include pension cuts, an increase in the value added tax, clamping down on collective bargaining agreements and implementing quasi-automatic spending constraints.

Tourists visit the ancient Acropolis hill, with the ruins of the Parthenon temple in Athens.
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Serial investor and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, thinks tax hikes will keep visitors away.

"Greece always was that place you can go and enjoy the culture. I don't know that it's affordable anymore after this," said Lemonis, who also stars in CNBC's "The Profit."

"I have to also believe that people considering taking a trip to Greece are probably going to cancel or postpone based on the uncertainty."

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Last year, a record 24 million tourists visited Greece, spending 13.5 billion euros, according to Lamnidis. He said about 25 million visitors and more than 14 billion euros in spending are anticipated this year.

"We are 6.7 percent up over the past six months, January to June, despite the political turmoil. So it seems like we are an attractive destination," said Lamnidis.

However, late bookings, which account for 20 percent of total visitors, have been going down over the past month, especially since the referendum was announced in late June. Lamnidis said those numbers are now "slowly but steadily" bouncing back.

"We are trying to actually find solutions to problems like capital controls that have been implemented. We are also trying to make sure that tourists are not affected in any way," he said.

"We really believe and plan ahead that as of next week we will be getting into a phase that will be better than the phase we've had before."

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—Reuters contributed to this report.