Travel agents see drop in foreign bookings

Fears of terrorist attacks, the Iraq invasion and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in southeastern Asia, in combination with domestic economic hardship, have led to a sizable reduction in the number of Greeks taking foreign holidays, according to travel agents. TUI travel agency official Antonis Karelas told Kathimerini that 30 percent fewer Greeks chose to go on holiday abroad this year, compared to 2002. «There was a drop in all destinations, but the problem is more intense regarding Asia and America, due to SARS and the fear of terrorist attacks,» he said. According to Karelas, this year’s most popular exotic destinations were the Carribean, the Canary Islands and the Maldives. Travel agency owner Paris Papadeas said most of his clients had chosen shorter holidays this year. «Very few went away for more than a week,» he said.