There has been a lot going on over the last couple weeks in regard to the Greek economy, and there is speculation that the country will pull out of the euro. This has led to fears among the travel industry about people still holding onto Greek euros, despite experts saying that a euro is a euro, no matter where it was made. With these concerns, there has been some mixed trends in regard to demand for Greek holidays.
According to reports, hotel, taxi, restaurant and bar prices are all falling, which would seemingly make the country more attractive to budget-concsious holidaymakers. Some hoteliers are said to have dropped their rates by up to 50%. However, there seems to be mixed demand being reported for holidays in the troubled nation.
Travel website Travelzoo, which offers deals from over 2,000 tour operators and travel agents, says that UK bookings for all-inclusive holidays to Greece have increase by almost one-third over the last two weeks. This is being compared to the fortnight prior to the last two weeks.
Travelzoo European managing director Stephen Dunk says this rise in bookings is a positive sign for the tourism industry, in spite of widespread concern about the Greek economy and eurozone stability. He believes the bookings increase is due to the strength of the pound against the euro, which has risen to a three-and-a-half-year high. This has meant that holidaymakers can get about 10% more for their money compared to last summer.
Several tour operators have also greatly discounted the cost of their Greek holidays over recent weeks in an attempt to entice hesitant travellers. Olympic Holidays is one operator that has reduced the price of thousands of packages by up to 60%.
The increase in UK bookings could also indicate that more holidaymakers are trying make sure their trips are protected in case there is disruption. This is because Travelzoo also reported that flight searches for the same destination had decreased by 25% over the same two weeks. Dunk says the increased interest from consumers in all-inclusive holidays is a real sign of the times. People are trying to get a grip on the amount they spend while attempting to protect themselves before their holidays, he added.
However, not everyone is keen on visiting Greece over the summer. While more British holidaymakers are looking to do so, German tourists seem to be less interested. The biggest tour operator in Germany, Thomas Cook, reported a 30% decline in bookings for Greek holidays in March. The company’s head of tourism, Michael Tenzer, was quoted saying that booking numbers for Greek holidays from German travellers have been nearly one-third fewer than figures for the same period last year.
Up until the Greek elections this month, there had been an improvement in bookings, Tenzer said, but the talk of a euro exit, the looming reelection and photos of violent protests sparked fears among German travellers. The decline in German bookings for Greek holidays came despite the tour operator offering heavy discounts. It was passing hotels’ and airlines’ discounts of up to 20% onto customers, he added.
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