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Plenty of vacancies at resorts for New Year’s

By Stathis Kousounis

Most of Greece’s popular winter resorts are still reporting vacancies for the rest of the festive season, with representatives of accommodation owners saying the occupancy rate ranges between 70 and 90 percent for New Year’s Day, with just a few exceptions. They estimate that demand in the coming days will increase with last-minute bookings. Ski resorts will enjoy the additional draw of the fresh snow that has just fallen.

Tourism traffic over the Christmas period was slightly lower than in the same period last year. Accommodation representatives stress that travelers have reduced their spending, mostly on food, while at some resorts they have also reduced the length of their stays.

“The average occupancy rate of tourism accommodation at Kalavryta for New Year’s is 90 percent,” says Dinos Dafalias, the president of the Association of Hoteliers and Owners of Tourism Accommodation of the mountainous Achaia region in the Peloponnese. He also estimates that the fresh snow will allow more parts of the ski resort to start operating.

Tourism professionals at the winter resort close to Patra have also decided to dedicate the weekend of January 10-11 to children, in the context of events to mark “Kalavryta Family Weekend.” Children up to the age of 14 who arrive with their parents will enjoy free services such as accommodation with breakfast at the hotels and meals at restaurants and tavernas, as well as free entrance to the Cave of the Lakes at Castria, the ski center (complete with equipment and an interactive playground activity) and the Municipal Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust.

Visitors are seeking out last-minute opportunities during this period for bookings at Mt Pilio near Volos in central Greece, says Giorgos Zafiris, head of the Magnisia Hoteliers Association. He says that the occupancy rate for New Year’s stands at 70 percent, with clear signs of an increase. He adds that the average rate for a twin room stands at 70 euros per night and that restaurants have also reduced their prices.

Hotel bed availability will grow by about 1,000 over New Year’s at Pieria in central Macedonia compared with the 3,000 beds available over Christmas in order to cover bookings by visitors from Bulgaria, according to the president of the local hotelier association, Afroditi Linna. At Pieria the average occupancy rate stands at 55 percent, but at the foot of Mount Olympus it climbs to 90 percent.

At Trikala Corinthias, in the northern Peloponnese, hotel units are reporting bookings at almost 100 percent of capacity for the rest of the festive season, according to the head of the local professionals’ association, Nikos Theodoratos. He argues that people have reduced their food outings and that traffic in local restaurants is mostly represented by day-trippers.

At Florina, in western Macedonia, the average occupancy stands at just 35 percent for New Year, according to the head of the local hoteliers association, Michalis Parlamis, who adds that bookings from January 2 are showing a small increase.

Finally, at Arcadia in the central Peloponnese, bookings have reached up to 80 percent of available capacity, according to Costas Marinakos, the destination’s hotelier association president. He notes that bookings have dropped to two or three nights, from four to five in previous years, while per capita expenditure has also gone down.

ekathimerini.com , Friday December 27, 2013 (22:09)  
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