ECONOMY

German airline lures customers with Greek deal

Airline Condor is offering German customers 50 euros off flights to Greece in a bid to entice reluctant German holidaymakers to the Mediterranean nation after a slump in bookings.

Tour operators such as TUI Germany (TT.L) (TUIGn.DE) and Condor parent Thomas Cook (TCG.L), have reported a fall in German bookings to Greece this year after a wave of anti-German protests in response to the country’s tough stance on the bailout.

Tourism is a vital source of income for Greece, accounting for about a fifth of gross domestic product, while Germans are the world’s biggest spenders on foreign holidays.

“We hope to help boost tourism in Greece,» Condor said on Monday, describing the offer as its version of the European rescue fund. It did not say how much the campaign would affect its margins, only that it was offering 10,000 of the 50-euro-off vouchers.

A quick search on Condor’s website showed a one-way flight to Crete or Rhodes from Frankfurt costing mostly around 169-179 euros, with the cheapest starting at about 109 euros. The airline offers around 70 connections a week from German airports to Greek destinations.

TUI Germany, which last month said bookings to Greece were down by a third, said prices for holidays to Greece had fallen by up to 10 percent this year and it had passed on lower hotel prices to its customers.

“This is paying off, because we have seen signs of a recovery in recent weeks,» a spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday. [Reuters]