Greek tourism

Thinking of going to Greece for your holiday this year? Well, you seem to be in a minority…

As my regular reader will know, I am very fond of Greece. I have been known to pop over for a spot of sun a couple of times a year and certainly am not going to rule out continuing to do so. But there do seem to be one or two problems over there at the moment.

I was watching BBC Breakfast the other morning and there was a piece on there from Zakynthos about the collapse of the Greek tourist trade. Apparenty this is because everyone is concerned about the collapse of the Evro as they call it over there.

Well, I think that’s crap. People are cutting back and it seems that when austerity is the name of the day, then the summer holiday is one thing where people watch the pennies. It doesn’t stop them going, but they do look at the price tag a little more closely.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was in Kardamyli in the Peleponese. We stayed in a very nice hotel and two weeks including the flights and transfers set us back a modest £945. The same two weeks in the same room this year would set us back £875 a head – so it’s pretty much doubled.

Friends of mine are off to Crete next week. They go every year to the same place. Last year they paid £750 and this year the same holiday is £1,250, an increase of two thirds. With some hard bargaining, they got the price down to £1,050 but decided they would go somewhere else instead, albeit still in Greece.

According to the BBC, their correspondent was staying in a hotel with 30 rooms and only three of them were occupied. Frankly, that makes the place seem rather spooky and uninviting in my book. I wouldn’t like to stay there when it’s that empty. UK bookings are down by 30% and the German bookings by as much as 60%

To the Greeks, I say this : If you want to maintain your tourism life blood, then you need to lower your prices. It’s nothing to do with the political unrest in Athens, the prospect of strikes and protests (they always have them anway) or the impending Greek withdrawal from the Euro. It’s not even a question of image.

If the price doubles, then people go somewhere cheaper. It’s that simple…

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