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WTM 2015: UK Tour Operators Confirm Greek Tourism’s Resilience

Panel discussion during Greek National Tourism Organization's (GNTO) networking event: Chris Wright, Managing Director for Sunvil Group; Philip Iverson, Director of Purchasing Eastern Med TUI Group; Frances Tuke, Lotus UK; Christina Kalogera, GNTO UK Director; and Alexandros Vassilikos, President of the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel Association.

Panel discussion during Greek National Tourism Organization’s (GNTO) networking event: Chris Wright, Managing Director for Sunvil Group; Philip Iverson, Director of Purchasing Eastern Med TUI Group; Frances Tuke, Lotus UK; Christina Kalogera, GNTO UK Director; and Alexandros Vassilikos, President of the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel Association.

Despite Greece’s well publicised problems with the economy and refugees this year, it was “business as usual” for UK tour operators selling holidays in the country.

Tour operators to Greece, such as Sunvil and TUI, said on Monday, during the opening day of the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, that they had seen a slight impact on bookings in summer 2015 due to concerns about the Greek economy but no great rush of cancellations.

“Yes there was fluctuation in demand this summer but we did not see mass cancellations”, said Philip Iverson, Director of Purchasing Eastern Med TUI Group.

“It is important to move on from that and, although customers had concerns, it was very much business as usual… All the things customers love about Greece were still there.”

The international tour operator TUI brings some two million tourists to Greece annually.

Sunvil Group, which has been selling holidays in Greece since 1974 and brings some 20,000 tourists per year to the country, did not see cancellations but a slight slowdown in bookings to Greece.

Read also:  Key Tourism Figures 2016: Eva Karamanou, General Manager of Amadeus Hellas

“In some ways it was ‘business as usual’ more than it has been in a number of years… Because, our market is one that loves Greece and wants to support the Greek people”, said Chris Wright, Managing Director for Sunvil Group.

Mr Wright underlined that in July, Sunvil customers had no problem making withdrawals from ATM machines when the capital controls were first imposed in Greece.

“It was all about reassuring our customers and getting positive messages out there”, he said.

In the year to August, Greece saw a 25 percent increase in arrivals from the UK, welcoming approximately 1.8 million British visitors compared to 1.4 million in the same period last year, and a staggering 33.5 percent increase of travel receipts.

GTP is an official media partner of WTM London 2015.


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