British tourists appear set for a comeback to Greece this year

By Stathis Kousounis

British tourists are set for a dynamic return to Greece in 2014 as a report by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) on the UK market shows, including Greece among the destinations that stand to benefit in the new season. Greece is also among the top destinations for British tourists for 2014 according to Britain’s Expedia.

Britain is the second most important market for Greek tourism both in terms of arrivals (1.9 million per year) and tourism revenues (1.4 billion euros), beaten only by Germany.

ABTA – with some 1,200 members which in their last financial year posted a combined turnover of 37 billion euros – has included Greece among the 12 popular and emerging destinations that British tourists are recommended to look at ahead of their holidays in 2014.

On Greece, the ABTA report says that the country’s financial problems have led to a decline in prices at many bars and restaurants, rendering the country much more affordable. For the British market, the most popular Greek islands remain Crete, Corfu, Rhodes and Zakynthos, but the report mentions other options for a taste of the so-called authentic Greece, such as Thasos, Icaria, Alonissos and Skopelos. It describes Santorini as a destination for five-star vacations with a spectacular view, as well as a possible location for ancient Atlantis.

Britons are this year expected to stick to tried-and-tested destinations that are not far away, a trend that is set to benefit Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey and France, the report says, adding that in 2013 the most popular destinations for British tourists were Spain, Greece, the US, France, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey and Tunisia.

Expedia has issued its search and booking data for 2013 and 2014, making special reference to Greece, saying that searches for Greek island holidays have more than doubled for 2014 compared with 2013. Searches in October and November for Greece grew 128 percent from a year earlier, the biggest rise among all destinations, with Morocco in second (up 119 percent).

Bookings for Greece in 2014 are also showing a major increase, amounting to 36 percent, beaten only by bookings to South Africa (42 percent higher) and Australia (41 percent). Expedia offers online bookings for over 240,000 accommodation units.