BUSINESS

Increase reported in domestic holiday bookings this Easter

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Corfu traditionally pulls large crowds over Easter.

TAGS: Tourism

Hotel bookings at most popular destinations in Greece are showing an increase over this Easter period, according to hoteliers and travel agents.

The expected exodus of Greeks from the cities to the countryside and the islands for this year’s Easter holidays has been bolstered by the fact that May 1 is a rather late date for Orthodox Easter, which has led to more hoteliers than usual opening their units as the summer season is very close. That in turn has resulted in better prices, offers and discounts for guests, especially in places with a lot of accommodation options.

Other favorable factors have been the government’s decision to extend the typical four-day Easter holiday period to five days by adding the May Day holiday, on May 3, and the positive weather forecasts for this weekend, which have boosted last-minute bookings.

The latest data from the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (HATTA) show that sales of packages and individual bookings made by Greeks through travel agents for the country’s holiday resorts are showing a 10 percent increase compared with last Easter.

Figures from the Trivago website also reveal that local destinations have risen in Greeks’ estimation since 2015 when it comes to Easter vacations. In their top 15 choices there are five Greek destinations, against just one last year. Furthermore, a survey by travel agent Travelplanet24 found that the top choices for Greeks traveling by ferry for their Easter holidays are the islands of Syros and Myconos, while Santorini is the most popular vacation spot by air.

The president of the Santorini Hoteliers Association, Manolis Karamolegos, confirms that this year Easter tourism traffic is greater on the island than in 2015. He also notes that the number of hotels that are open this Easter is five times last year’s, while occupancy rates are expected to range around 70 percent.

Hotels in Magnesia, central Greece, are also witnessing an increase in bookings from the domestic market, according to the local hoteliers’ association president, Giorgos Zafiris. He adds, however, that losses have been noted in bookings from Serbia and Bulgaria due to the mistaken impression that the borders would be closed for road transport to Greek destinations.

According to the regional vice governor of the Ionian islands, Spyros Galiatsatos, that region is also witnessing a rise in bookings, with Corfu, traditionally a popular destination over Easter, absorbing the lion’s share of traffic.

In contrast, there has been a decline in bookings for Halkidiki, central Macedonia. The head of the local hoteliers, Grigoris Tasios, notes that the occupancy rate is 10 percentage points down on 2015, ranging between 65 and 70 percent.

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