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Greeks Stayed Home For The Holidays

Many Greeks chose to stay home this past holiday season and avoided traditional Christmas and New Year domestic destinations as travel within the country declined some 25 percent, Yiorgos Telonis, president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) told GTP last month.

According to press reports, holiday bookings were disappointing at Karpenisi, Pelion, Zagorohoria and Kalavrita despite the lowered rates offered at these popular winter resorts. The fashionable ski destination, Arachova, proved the exception to the rule. Destinations abroad, which are considered inexpensive, such as Prague, Vienna and Budapest, also saw fewer Greek visitors this holiday season.

Travel professionals said the main cause of the decline in trips this year was the economic crisis while those who stayed home were mainly travelers of middle-class income.

“In regards to outgoing tourism, tourist traffic during the holiday season was on last year’s levels,” HATTA’s president said. Mr. Telonis said that a great variety of appealing travel packages were offered at very competitive prices.

According to the sixth MasterCard Barometer survey, nearly three in four Greeks (74 percent) said they had not intended to travel during the 2010 holiday season, a significant increase compared with 2009. Among the reasons given were financial difficulties and not being able to take time off from work during the holiday season.

2011 Early Bookings

However, in regards to this year’s tourism season, HATTA told GTP that Greece was already receiving positive messages from the market as early bookings have already been made as of last month.

“We believe that the strength of our product united with the determined efforts of the state and the productive classes -provided that efforts are done in a timely manner through targeted and immediate actions within a stable environment that will not be modified financially or politically- will bring results,” HATTA said.

The association said the cooperation and synergy of tourism professionals with the state should be interactive and effective as there is “always room for improvement and development.”

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