Trade banks on Greece election result to give bookings a bounce

Trade banks on Greece election result to give bookings a bounce

The trade is confident of a last-minute resurgence in Greece bookings following the country’s election this week.

Operators expressed relief after voters backed pro-euro parties following fears Greece could drop out of the eurozone, although most admitted it was too late to recover to 2011’s trading levels.

Sunvil operations director Chris Wright said the operator enjoyed buoyant sales on the day of the results. “These people had been holding off from booking. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief.”

Sunvil, which is likely to end the year 10%-15% down for Greece, has given “significant amounts of cash” to ground‑handling agents to help holidaymakers. “This was in case cashpoints closed, but we now don’t expect this to happen,” said Wright.

Hugh Morgan, managing director of Monarch Travel Group, was confident of improved last-minute bookings this summer and autumn. “It’s a very late market, but much more positive than a few weeks ago,” he said.

Kyriaki Boulasidou, the Greek National Tourism Organisation’s director for the UK and Ireland, said UK operators reported Greece sales to be 11% down year on year. The GNTO has launched a campaign to encourage holidaymakers to tweet and write testimonials on to give the “true” story. “We are hoping for last-minute bookings after the Olympics,” added Boulasidou.

John Kent, founder of bed bank and Aquis Hotels & Resorts, said press coverage had exaggerated disruption based on demonstrations in Athens. And he said any switch back to the drachma would be over months, not overnight.

Agents were encouraging customers to travel but admitted clients were cautious, with some choosing destinations such as Turkey instead.

Karen Allen, retail manager at Aspen Travel in Manchester, said: “There are some great prices but clients keep asking about the state of the Greek economy.”

Kate Harris, owner of Inspired Travel in Leicestershire, said: “We’ve had a shedload of bookings to Turkey due to the Greece crisis.”


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