More Greeks intend to spend their winter holidays abroad

A record number of Greeks are planning trips abroad over this holiday period, according to data by the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies (HATTA).

Yiannis Evangelou, the President of HATTA, said that this year an unprecedented 60 percent of all trips to be made from Greece to another country over the festive season were already booked in November.

This allows for projections about a record number of trips abroad, while the number of people traveling within Greece is also anticipated to be greater than last year. HATTA estimates suggest that some 85,000 Greeks have chosen to spend their holidays in another country. Evangelou attributes this shift mostly to good offers by travel agencies and to the alliances developed by certain agencies promoting one another’s trips in their brochures. This has led many Greeks to make their reservations well in advance.

The most popular destinations include Central Europe, Budapest and Prague are favorites and Poland is gaining ground due to travel packages combining trips to Warsaw and Krakow. Meanwhile, Rome remains a popular destination for Greeks, as it has in the past. Greeks are also making more holiday bookings to Balkan states, mainly traveling by bus or car from Northern Greece. HATTA expects that these states will attract about 20 percent of the Greeks traveling abroad over the holidays.

Most of the tourists traveling by air will face, for the first time, new security measures imposed at airports that limit the kinds of objects in hand luggage that can be taken aboard.

As far as domestic destinations are concerned, the overview of the market is far easier during this period, as the number of accommodation units operating in the winter is definitely smaller than those open over the summer. Demand exceeds supply, particularly in popular destinations such as the Zagorohoria in Epirus, Pelion mountain in Thessaly, Arahova next to Delphi and Kalavryta in the Peloponnese. The average hotel occupancy in such destinations, which also include ski resorts, reaches 100 percent.

There is also an increase in occupancy rates in accommodation near well-known winter resorts. There is an unusually high degree of interest in destinations in the Peloponnese such as Arcadia, mainly due to the the high-quality accommodation units constructed in the last few years. Winter resorts, however, cost much more than the summer ones because demand grows faster than supply.

However, there are now offers even from top-tier hotels in the country’s islands, such as Crete, where one can find packages that are up to 50 percent cheaper than in the summer period.