Tourists hoping to swim in Greece’s seas, stroll around the cobbled streets of the Cycladic islands or explore the lush landscapes of the Ionian will need to book this summer for the next.
The limited number of beds on small but popular islands, combined with the early bookings of tourists who are thirsty for Greece, have turned the quest for a room this summer into something of an ordeal. Finding a room in high season at popular destinations has become a dice-roll, as nine out of 10 accommodation units are either booked or too expensive for the average Greek holidaymaker at least – to say nothing of those seeking to combine quality, price and a good location.
“This year I was making calls for two weeks just to find a room on Amorgos [island] for August. I had to compromise my requirements and got forced to accept a change of room for two out of the seven days,” says Michalis V., a schoolteacher. “When I was a kid with my parents we used to choose a room on the spot,” he remembers.
Finding a room with the ease of the 1980s or 1990s may not be possible, but the supply of rooms that have the poorer quality common in those decades but at 2018 prices is a serious problem for guests.
“If you’re looking for a room on Naxos at peak season, you will fail as the beds are particularly few, in the same range as five years ago. The same goes for Paros and the Ionian islands. On the Cyclades, especially on small islands with a few beds, you cannot even find anything in July, or you will find something that is particularly expensive,” explains Grigoris Tasios, the President of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation. He adds that only 25,000 beds were added in Greece in 2018, which is “minimal” in relation to the rise in demand.
The situation is a little better on Crete, Rhodes and Kos, where the model of mass tourism fares better, while major continental destinations such as Halkidiki and Pieria in central Macedonia, are showing a considerably better picture than the Cyclades islands.