Packages for a balmy winter

Greece launching campaign to attract northern Europeans on mild weather and low cost

Packages for a balmy winter

The invitation to northern Europeans to spend the winter in warm Greece started almost as wishful thinking, but is evolving into a Greek-German initiative that is being extended to other countries such as the Netherlands.

The campaign for attracting northern Europeans, mainly pensioners, to spend the winter season in Greek hotels and other accommodation units is being motivated by much lower heating costs due to the milder Greek climate, and secondarily by the lower cost of living in general. The surge in energy costs throughout Europe and especially in Germany has acted as a catalyst.

The idea is already being developed into a solid plan by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, who, Kathimerini understands, intends to discuss the matter in the next few days with German Ambassador Ernst Reichel, while he will also convene a relevant meeting with Greek tourism authorities.

Large tourist organizations, such as the Dutch Corendon and the German TUI Group, are said to be assessing the possibility of creating such packages, which would offer competitive prices for a stay of one or more months, mainly in Crete but also other areas with a warm climate, such as Rhodes. In addition to a temperate climate, the areas that would be eligible for such a scheme also need to have infrastructure and services that will allow the operation of accommodation units in the winter.

Similar packages for hosting Germans and other travelers from countries with cold winters have existed in Spain for several years. As the president of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation, Grigoris Tassios explains to Kathimerini, they require an institutional framework so that hotels can offer competitive prices, in the order of 30-40 euros per night, and in some cases lower, through tax and insurance incentives that are necessary to keep hotels open in the winter.

The Netherlands-based tourist organization Corendon, which belongs to Turkish interests, is reportedly trying to develop a relevant product for Crete and Rhodes, while other larger tour operators are said to be evaluating the prospect.

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