NEWS

Hotels hustle for custom with deals

Greeks planning to go on holiday had better make plans well in advance and get ready to haggle for a decent price on accommodation. Recent indications of a downturn in estimates for arrivals of tourists from abroad have cleared the way for locals to negotiate better terms with hoteliers – a significant factor in the cost of holidays. But these estimates are only based on the most recent picture and cannot be relied on to predict what the future will bring in terms of tourist traffic this coming holiday season. Many holiday destinations around the country are highly popular with domestic tourists. However, they depend entirely on whether Greeks can afford them or not, and right now, for most Greeks, the financial outlook is bleak. Many will be tempted to take out a holiday bank loan to finance their vacations and as almost every bank in the country offers up to 6,000 euros at a reasonable rate, they are looking like a serious option for some families. Worst month People planning to get away this summer would do better to forget the month of August, when even at the best of times, prices tend to be on the high side. Off-peak times are also better in terms of people being able to negotiate with hoteliers eager to fill their units, especially if reservations are for a long-term stay. The newly established Ministry of Tourism, is, for its part, trying to promote domestic tourism. According to an announcement by Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, the government is set to launch a campaign dubbed «Greeks, get to know your land,» which aims at boosting tourism in the less-frequented areas of the country. Contrary to earlier estimates, it looks like this year most Greek holidaymakers will be able to go on an affordable vacation within the country’s borders, especially if they take the time to shop around for the best deals and book well in advance. It is also best to ignore the thousands of offers and deals which flood the media in May and June as these are not suggestions made by journalists who have evaluated the offers first-hand, but publicity stunts that benefit the media more than the traveler. Below is a list of offers that was made public by hoteliers, travel agents and local administrations during the recent «Tourist Panorama» exhibition. Offers – At six of its hotels (three on Zakynthos and one each on Corfu, Cephalonia and in Hania, Crete), the Louis group is offering a 20 percent discount for the period between June 21-July 31 and September 1-15. If the reservation is for three nights or more, one night is free of charge until June 20 and from September 16-October 31 (excluding the weekend holiday of May 29-31). In both cases one child is exempt from paying. – The Crete & Rhodes Capsis Convention Centers & Resort Hotels group has also launched a series of attractive package deals for domestic tourists. For example, the group’s Rhodes hotel is charging 48 euros per person for a double room for the May-June and September-October period, 59 euros per person in July and 69 euros in August. All prices include breakfast. One child aged up to 10 years old is exempt from paying, while the third person will have a 50 percent reduction on the per head charge. Moreover, the price of bungalows (which sleep four people), has been set at 100 euros for May-June and September-October, 110 euros for July and 130 euros for August. For an amount totalling over 300 euros, customers are given the option of paying in three, interest-free monthly installments beginning on the day the reservation is made, in six installments if the price exceeds 500 euros and in nine installments if it’s over 1,000 euros. – Other hotels, such as Mesogeios 2000 in the west coast resort of Preveza, throw in an extra night during May, June, September and October. Therefore a seven-night stay will be charged as a six-night stay, 14 nights will be charged as 12 and 21 nights as 17. – Club Med are also making some alluring holiday offers this summer, with prices at the Marathon Club Med as low as 40 euros per person at the start of the season. The Club Med package deals also include full board (three buffet meals a day, plus free beverages), lessons in water sports, various activities for entertainment and relaxation, as well as a child-sitting service. – Neptune Hotels, on the island of Kos, were also present at the fair with an offer for customers making reservations in May for the July-August period. In this case, the price of a double room is set at 120 euros, with a 30 percent discount for a third party. Also, hotel customers using the Neptune Spa for any type of treatment or service will be allowed free access to the Wet Spa. – The Palladium Hotel in Halkidiki made an offer only for the month of June, throwing in one night free of charge on a seven-day stay, plus allowing one child free of charge and another at a 50 percent discount. The cost of a weeklong stay for two people would thus come to 624 euros, including two meals a day (breakfast and a buffet dinner). – The Saint George Hotel on Paros is going about making its summer offers by handing out 10 percent discount vouchers for a limited number of rooms for the period up to October 4, while the Tinos Beach Hotel on Tinos, using the same system, is offering discounts of up to 30 percent. – The Association of Owners of Rented Rooms and Apartments on Aegina announced a 20 percent discount for people staying in accommodation that is under the association’s umbrella. Some tourist agencies are even throwing in a free car for a three-day holiday.