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Why is Greece going to be successful this summer?

Greece: 40% of French travelers go through a Tour-Operator to book their vacation


The craze of vacationers for Greece is going to profit tour-operators, airline companies, and hotels. We now need to see if the destination will have the means to take in, on the long run, such an influx of tourists coming from all over Europe, especially in terms of accommodations.



The touristic sites of Greece should stay filled up this summer. DR
The touristic sites of Greece should stay filled up this summer. DR
This summer, French people are going see each other amongst the Greeks.

Terrified of anything that resembles, even the slightest, to a Muslim country, most are redirecting their choice towards these destinations that are considered “safe”, with Greece in mind.

In 2014, around 1.4 million of our citizens have visited the country, an increase of 18%. The Tourism Office in Paris is expecting a new growth spurt of 10% this year.

This craze should profit tour-operators because 40% of visitors who go to Greece go through a professional to reserve their trip.

The numbers of the last SNAV/Atout France barometer are in fact excellent: +19% in reservations last March.

The same optimism on the part of the SETO where Greece was already at a 17.6% growth on the 2013-2014 year with 375,232 travel packages sold.

Very few promotions this summer

Tour-Operators are rejoicing and are more and more numerous to program the destination.

The leader Héliades records reservations at a 35% progression for stocks that are at a 10% increase.

At Voyamar, Greece has even become the first destination before Tunisia, with capacities at a 15% progression.

Aurélien Aufort, the Executive Director also rejoices for having resisted to giving in to the charm of promotions.

“It was in our interest to not break the market too much, and today that works quite well.”

Usually quite slow, the month of June is now filled with groups. Tour-Operators should thus be able to preserve their profit margins for this season.

However, Jean Brajon noticed a slight increase of hotel rates, that seem to be trying to reach the same levels as before the crisis. An increase that will have, however, no impact on the brochure rates.

“I don’t think that hotels have raised prices,” replies Thrasy Petropoulos from the agency Marketing Greece.

Given that the increase of the TVA demanded by Europe has not been applied, Greek professionals have not had to readjust their rates.

He also wants to be reassuring on the declarations of the government, who criticized the weight of the all-inclusive hotels.

“Politicians are quite aware that they could penalize such a large part of the accommodation offer.”

Let’s also note that the decrease of Russian travelers (projections estimate a drop of 30%) has not satisfied the French.

“We avoid scheduling establishments that are occupied by Russians,” explains Jean Brajon.

Same observation at Voyamar. “The pullout of the Russians has freed up rooms in the luxury categories, which are not really the types of rooms that we sell. I believe that it is difficult, today, to find availabilities because other European countries have also greatly progressed,” adds Aurelian Aufort.

The French are very much appreciated because (for once) they spend a lot. In 2014, they injected 1,1 billion euros in the economy, or an increase of 25.1%.

Towards a shortage of rooms in hotel establishments?

As for the cruising sector, people are having fun also. The company Celestyal (previously Louis Cruise) also takes advantage of the craze on the destination with sales progressing by 30%.

In fact, it has accelerated the purchase of a new ship to respond to the demand by integrating within its fleet the Odyssey (850 spots.) “But even with our own three ships, it might not be enough,” laments Clément Mousset, the Comercial Director of the company.

However, on air transport, everything should be fine. The destination seems well prepared, with 706,353 seats programmed according to the Greek statistics organism, SETE.

The company Aegan is also experiencing a strong growth, offering 675,000 seats this year versus 461,000 last year (+46%.)

It is establishing itself in three new airports (Toulouse, Deauville, Metz) and has increased its frequencies in other platforms.

From Athens, it serves 33 destinations all over Greece. And despite the competition of Transavia, Volotéa, or even easyJet, it manages to maintain honorable rates.

Pierre-Emmanuel Duband, France’s Commercial Director, believes, however, that the redirection of the clientele will stay limited. “It is not the same budget as North African countries. All the clients we lost on those destinations won’t necessarily be found again in Greece.”

This influx of visitors coming from all over Europe could however pose a problem in terms of accommodations.

“It is very easy to program planes to go to Greece, but it is more difficult and it is a much longer process to build hotels,” notes Pierre-Emmanuel Duband.

“Most of the establishments are managed by family groups who struggle to mobilize investors in this uncertain economic context.”

Let’s wait and see if the government will have the time and, especially, the means to invest in the only sector of the economy that isn’t suffering, since it accounts for 17% of the GDP.

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 28/04/2015
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