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Foreign tourists are increasingly avoiding troubled Greece

13 May 2010 / 14:05:18  GRReporter
2554 reads

Victoria Mindova

Troublesome are the data submitted by the Union of Greek hoteliers, according to which a total of more than 20,000 reservations have been withdrawn from the capital's hotels since the beginning of 2010. Incessant strikes, protests and riots not only paralyzed trade in Athens but also largely contributed to the withdraw of tourists this season. Mostly affected from endless strife in the city center are Syntagma Square hotels overlooking the parliament – Grande Bretagne and King George. According to information presented in the Greek newspaper Naftemboriki the withdrawn reservations from these hotels are close to 17,000 last year. 

Entirely different picture presents Miranda Hunda, owner of the elegant four-star Art Hotel near the homonymous square in the capital. "We have the same number of reservations as last year. Only the prices are slightly lower compared to summer 2009 because of the economic crisis," said Miranda for GRReporter. The Art Hotel owner notes with pleasure that in May the hotel has enjoyed a 95% fill capacity. "Protests in Athens are not more than once a week and are outside the area of the hotel and major tourist attractions," this is how Miranda Hunda explains the good business she has in 2010. 

The bad reputation of Greece and the general uncertainty in the country has also affected the operation of hotels on the islands. "Work is less this year, but costs are higher," says young Roy, owner a small luxury five star hotel complex Rocabella Resort on the party island Mykonos. She admits that this year bookings are about 10%-15% less than last year, even though prices have risen. Roy says that unfortunately, despite the economic crisis, there can be no discussion on a general reduction of prices, but depending on the period there are promotional discounts. Overall, her observations are that the holiday season begins to "shrink". If previous years, Greek and foreign tourists have visited the islands from May to October, now the trend is from June to early September. 

"Sad is the fact that recently Athens rarely enters the lists of cities in which international conferences, forums and other events in the long run, are held" says Yiannis Retsos, Chairman of the Union of Athens Hoteliers. According to him if the government fails to take immediate steps towards calming the spirits in the country, many hotels will be forced to close. 

Tags: Greece Athens Mykonos tourism
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