Crete has for the first time emerged as the favorite destination of Germans who are planning to travel abroad this year, overtaking the Balearic island of Majorca, the traditionally top choice of this particular market.
In total, three Greek destinations – Crete, Rhodes and Kos – are among the top five choices of German holidaymakers for this year, according to the latest data that leading tour operator TUI AG has shared with Kathimerini. The fact that Greece now appears more attractive to Germans than Spain, reversing the usual pecking order, is considered very encouraging.
When the British market is included, bookings for Corfu and Zakynthos are also particularly popular. German and Britain have long been Greece’s biggest markets for visitors and the signs are particularly positive from this major tour operator, although TUI sources add that for this favorable picture to become reality the pandemic conditions must not be allowed to deteriorate further, either in Greece or in the countries of the tourists’ origin.
In any case bookings are considerably higher at the moment that a year earlier, when Covid-19 had already generated fear and lockdowns that affected the global tourism sector.
Most of those bookings concern the summer months of July and August. Originally, there were even some bookings for April and early May, especially from Britain, but they have be pushed back after the British government announced it will open its borders on May 17.
In 2020 Germany and Britain accounted for 40% of Greek tourism arrivals and receipts.
Since the start of this year TUI has made plans to sell 80% of its available holiday packages, a target that currently looks hard to attain given than April and half of May are now out. “At any rate this season has all the guarantees to be much better than last year,” TUI officials stress. They also note that the company’s entire aircraft fleet is ready to take off according to demand, and once that is allowed.
A further improvement of the picture is anticipated as long as vaccination programs progress both within Greece’s borders and beyond.