Travel agents expect an increase in bookings from Monday.
"Political polarization in Greece is not like the Arab spring. Greece remains a safe destination for all tourists and we can not speak of political uncertainty". This is what Stefanos Isaias, from the Greek Association of Hoteliers said. He spoke to foreign journalists in the International Electioneering Press room in Zappeion hall a day before the second parliamentary elections for this year. Tourist organizations and the agencies chose to convey their message to the world the day before the 17th of June in order to show that no matter what path the country will take from next week, the tourist business will remain strong and will survive despite the socio-political oscillations.
Greece remains a safe, welcoming and beautiful country. Come see for yourself was the call of the businessmen from different Greek tourist associations. "Greece has domestic problems. This is an undeniable fact, but they have not affected the quality of tourist services, or the hospitality of the Greeks in any way," said Nicholas Kelaiditis from the Hellenic Association of Travel Agencies exclusively for GRReporter. He insisted that over the last two years Greece has been presented in a negative way and this has had a negative effect on the flow of foreign tourists. "Strikes and protests are held in all democratic countries. They trouble the life in the cities for some times during the day in certain areas, but they do not affect the life in the whole country. Not even throughout the whole of Athens," said the tourism expert.
The negative information about the country and the economic crisis which has engulfed it have extremely negative impacts on tourism, but they also have their good sides. One of them is that the prices of hotel services have dropped by about 15% as compared to last year. Isaias said that the average European price for accommodation in a hotel room in 2012 is 150 euro per night, while in Greece the average value of this indicator is 90 euro per night. "The ratio between price and quality has improved greatly in recent years," insisted the expert from the Greek Association of Hoteliers and said that now more than ever Greece is an attractive destination for tourists. Nevertheless, the level of bookings remains extremely low to date.
People in the tourism business are expecting a large contribution in filling the hotels with last minute bookings. Nevertheless they hope that the negative trend will change significantly once a democratically elected government is formed. "We believe that starting from Monday there will be a rise in bookings," they say. The Secretary General of the Greek Tourism Organization George Kaletsos was explicit that the country is not threatened by leaving the eurozone. He insisted that the tourist packages will not be competitive with the drachma, and Greece would be in very bad situation. "We do not consider any option in which Greece will be outside the eurozone", stated Kaletsos. He said that one way to see the true face of Greece outside the social unrest, strikes and the crisis is the use of social media. George Kaletsos urged tourists to share their experiences on the Internet in order to enable people who have not visited the country to feel the positive whiff of Tourism in Greece.