Confidence is returning to Greece but operators are being forced to offer discounts of up to 70% to shift summer stock.
Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides said bookings had picked up since the weekend, with the latest bailout offer easing holidaymakers’ fears.
“We’ve definitely seen a great improvement this week,” he said. “If families don’t book now, they may regret it. On some dates these are the lowest prices we’ve seen for years.”
He said prices would “inevitably” rise as demand returned.
Olympic has discounts of “about 70%”, in line with operators including Thomson Holidays.
Sunvil also reported a “flurry” of bookings this week. The operator has been offering 50% discounts for holidays in the next few weeks.
Managing director Chris Wright said: “There is still capacity left – more than at this time last year – and we hope now confidence is returning, prices will tighten. We do not expect to offer huge discounts through the peak season.”
On Monday, Ryanair slashed fares on Athens routes to Rhodes, Chania and Thessaloniki to €4.99 in a ‘Keep Greece Flying’ campaign.
Retailers credited the “truly amazing” prices in the market – and the impact of Tunisia’s crisis – for Greece’s sales surge.
On The Beach’s Greece bookings for the first two weeks of July were up 11% on the same period last year and up 46% for June.
Chief marketing officer Alistair Daly said: “Families are returning to Greece; they see it as safe. While flight prices are lower, people are trading up their hotel thanks to good all-inclusive deals.”
Advantage Travel Partnership head of commercial John Sullivan said: “For those who have not booked, there are truly amazing prices, representing amazing value.”
Thomson has cut the price of seven nights’ B&B in Kefalonia by 67% to £225, departing Newcastle today (July 16).
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