NEWS

15-30 percent rise in travel costs

Travel by air: There are no special rates for Greeks traveling by air, meaning that people traveling abroad will be unable to avoid the widespread rate hikes that are being put into place for the Olympic Games. «The pricing system is the same around the world and thus does not allow special pricing in air fares. Greek will have to pay especially high prices for a trip to any of the more popular holiday destinations abroad this year,» explains Antonis Karellas, of the TUI travel agency. However, airlines have published neither their schedules nor their rates for August, so few conclusions can yet be drawn, though pundits say prospects look quite bleak. «Airlines are purposefully holding off from publishing their rates policies. Even direct deals with agencies to ensure a better price on package deals have been frozen. This leads to the conclusion that even early bookings under a special arrangement will eventually be sold at a much higher rate,» says Karellas. If, therefore, the average annual increase in air fares is approximately 10 percent, this year’s increases are expected to reach 30 percent. «We will be happy if we have as much traffic as last year, as there will be far fewer seats and prices are expected to be much higher. Greeks should note that traveling to Europe will be cheaper at any time other than the summer,» he added. Air fares for domestic flights have not shown a particularly sharp increase so far. Travel by sea: According to information available up to now, domestic rates appear to be at similar levels to last year’s, with a maximum noted increase of 10 euros on boats from Piraeus bound for the islands. However, traveling by boat abroad, to Italy for example, is going to be considerably dearer this year. For example, Minoan Lines has posted a 15 percent increase in fares for the peak period (August) and a 10 percent rise for off-peak periods. Fast Ferries has posted an 18 percent rise for August, while increases during the off-season stand at 8-9 percent. ANEK Lines will be raising its rates from 10-12 percent.