TOURISM

Hoteliers waiting for London

Local tourism market anticipates shift to British policy, as TUI suspends packages to Greece

hoteliers-waiting-for-london

The fact that travelers returning to Britain from Greece still have to quarantine has had a considerable negative impact on a large number of Greek hoteliers, which in some cases rely on the British market for 40% or more of their annual takings. June now appears lost to many of those hoteliers, whose earnings from that segment of the market have been minimal, and there are doubts arising for July too.

This issue was central to the talks on Monday between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his British opposite number Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the NATO Summit. The Greek PM informed Johnson about the improving picture of the pandemic in Greece, which in Mitsotakis’ view allows for the lifting of restrictions by London so as to ease the holidays of Britons in this country.

The major tour operators serving the British market have already suspended trips to Greece till end-June or even early July, depending on the destination.

As things currently stand, the next review of destination rating by the British authorities is scheduled for June 24, and Greece aspires to move out of the amber list and into the green. However, there is an increasing flow of information from the UK that London is not just taking the advice of medical experts into account but economists too; the latter advise the British government to try to keep its citizens’ tourism spending in the country and encourage “staycations.” This is likely going to further delay Greece’s shift from the amber to the green list even if its coronavirus record has improved considerably.

TUI UK, the British branch of German tour operator TUI AG, announced the suspension of travel package sales in Britain up to July 11, due to the prolonged uncertainty from UK government policies on international travel.

The freeze on British TUI packages also affects Greek destinations such as Zakynthos (suspended till June 28), and Hania, Kavala, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Preveza, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos and Thessaloniki (suspended till July 4).