BUSINESS

Greece battling Spain, Portugal for German tourists

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism

Greece is going to battle it out with Spain and Portugal to attract the biggest possible share of tourists from major markets this summer, especially Germany, as the big German tour operators have started aggressively promoting packages to Greece and the Balearics – the islands that have done better at combating Covid-19 than continental Spain.

The promotional activities of German tour operators TUI, DER Touristik and the FTI Group include offers of free cancellation up to 14 days before the trip and reduced rates stemming either from the reduction of their profit margins or from the new agreements with hoteliers where that was possible, Kathimerini understands.

Germany, which last year sent 4 million travelers to Greece – who spent 2.9 billion euros in the country – intends to lift travel advisories for trips abroad as of June 15, according to the German media. Hoteliers in Greece, and now in Spain and Portugal too, as well as the major travel agencies, are trying to secure the biggest possible share of German demand for vacations in Southern Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of bookings for holidays in Greece that had been made before the pandemic outbreak in Europe and concerning dates after June 15 remain active on the online systems of agents and of Greek hoteliers. Although it remains to be confirmed what air capacity will be available on flights out of Germany, more and more tourism professionals believe they could see the first German tourists in late June, despite the reduced demand.

The Greek health authorities, in cooperation with the government, will be assessing the international data on Covid-19 until the end of May and will then allow the resumption of air arrivals from a number of select countries. The list has not been set in stone, but in the last few days leaks point to 19 countries that will be allowed to send tourists to Greece: They are Cyprus, Albania, Australia, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Israel, Japan, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

Online