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Operators to Greece sought to reassure customers and the trade that hotels continue to operate as normal this week and would not run out of provisions, as the country’s financial crisis deepened.
With banks closed and the Greek people rejecting the country’s bailout in a referendum, there were concerns about the impact of a lack of cash on hotels. Tour operators’ charges for customers wanting to cancel or amend holidays remained in place.
Abta said in a statement: “Reports from our members suggest it is business as usual in Greek resorts with bars, shops and restaurants adequately supplied and open as usual.”
And Monarch said: “Our hotel partners are continuing to accept credit cards, and the businesses which our customers use, such as restaurants, are open for business”
Your Holiday Booking agents were receiving updates on the situation in the resorts of Sani and Ikos to help them address questions from concerned clients.
Chris North, sales and development director, said: “They [resorts] have confirmed that it is business as usual and that our guests’ holidays remain unaffected by the current situation in Greece.”
Mark Warner and Olympic Holidays confirmed their hotels were operating as normal. “We are getting queries and people are happy with the response,” said a Mark Warner spokeswoman.
Thomas Cook said: “Bookings to Greece have been strong since the beginning of the year, and we have less to sell in the lates period compared to the same period in 2014.”
The Foreign Office this week advised visitors to take any medication they need for the duration of the trip, amid reports that supplies were running short.
And with visitors advised to take sufficient euros for their whole trip, there was a warning that Greece needs to find a resolution soon before hotels run out of cash to pay for general supplies.
Alan Bowen, legal adviser to the Association of Atol Companies, suggested sales to Greece were reportedly 40% down since the referendum.
He said: “Sales were very good early in the year, but in the past two weeks, people have realised Greece is not a place to book a last-minute holiday.
“Suppliers to hotels now want to be paid in cash in advance.
“If the hotels have not got any food or drink to serve, it’s not going to be much of a holiday. Unless this is resolved quickly, Greece is going to have a poor lates market. It’s wonderful news for Portugal and Spain, which are absorbing all this displaced capacity.”
Andreas Andreadis, president of Greek tourism body SETE, confirmed last week that Greece was losing 36,000 to 48,000 bookings a day, compared with this time last year.
In the UK, booking figures from analyst GfK revealed that Greece was 2.2% up year on year for summer 2015, but late bookings in the week to last Saturday were down 1.6%. The volume of early bookings for summer 2016 in the week to last Saturday were half those of last year.
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