By Stathis Kousounis
Representatives of German tour operators are now expressing optimism that bookings from Germany for vacations in Greece will increase after the result of the general election on Sunday, while there are also positive signs from the Russian market.
The head of Alltours, Willi Verhuven, stated that “after the victory of moderate parties we are expecting an increase in bookings.”
Last month travel agencies and airline companies in Germany had announced that bookings from Germany to Greece were down by a third. A representative of tour operator Thomas Cook noted that the outcome of the elections constitutes a step toward stability and an improvement in atmosphere. Similarly, a spokesman for Tui Germany, the country’s biggest tour operator, said, “We hope that we will have significant last-minute bookings and we are optimistic that the situation will become more stable.”
Sources suggest that there already are some signs pointing to a clear rebound in bookings: On Monday, the day after the polls, a five-star hotel saw bookings more than double compared to before the elections. A four-star hotel reported a massive increase in bookings from Russia.
In general, hotels at various Greek destinations estimate that the flow of bookings will revert to normal after a 30-50 percent decline between the May 6 and the June 17 elections, depending on the area, owing to the political uncertainty.
There is also good news in the way of tourism traffic from Russia: Data published by the Greek General Consulate in Moscow showed that in the first five months of the year the number of visas issued grew by 18.5 percent, climbing to 127,393 from 107,480 in the same period last year.
The president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, called for the creation of a government that will have a clear popular mandate to proceed with decisive steps to the transformation of Greek economy from a “Soviet-type economy into a European one.”
“Tourism will have a key contribution in the restarting of growth by adding three percentage points to the country’s gross domestic product and many thousands of new jobs in the next couple of years,” he said.