Fewer Germans are planning leisure trips to Greece as the Mediterranean country holds emergency negotiations to avoid a financial collapse.
Vacation bookings to Greece from Germany plunged 39 percent in the week through July 5 from a year ago, according to TravelTainment, a German unit of Amadeus IT Holding SA, the Madrid-based company processing flight reservations for airlines. In the week through June 28, they fell 25 percent, the company said. Amadeus said the data is “not significant” because it covers only only leisure travel and is a small portion of its overall business.
The slump means Greece is missing out on much-needed tourism revenue from its single largest source market because some Germans no longer feel welcome in the country or want to avoid the risk of having their summer vacation spoiled by economic turmoil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has become a hated figure for some Greeks, who blame her for aggravating the country’s economic situation by pushing for austerity measures.
TUI AG, Europe’s largest tour operator, said bookings to Greece in the past two weeks declined by a single-digit percentage. Year to date, the number of trips to the country were still slightly higher than last year, the Hanover, Germany- based company said. Thomas Cook Group Plc said that while recent bookings to Greece were somewhat lower, the declines were far less than those reported by TravelTainment.
Weekly data has limited meaning, and the bigger declines reported by TravelTainment may stem from a higher proportion of custom tours booked through that system, while TUI mainly sells package tours booked well in advance, said Michael Roell, a spokesman for TUI.
TUI on Monday sought to calm clients in a memo, saying cash, food and supplies were still widely available in Greece. The company also said Friday it sold its stake in Greek hotel joint venture Grecotel to the family owner, adding the transaction was unrelated to the current situation in the country.
The TravelTainment data comprises trips booked through travel agents or online in which the passenger is departing from Germany and destined for Greece. Major sports events or aggressive advertising by a destination country can influence customer booking patterns, the service provider said.