Consumers in the UK are choosing alternative destinations for holiday this year as a result of the constant negative publicity focused on Greece (which consumers see as not just Athens but the islands too), according to an open letter sent to Greek officials last month by three UK travel industry federations.
The initiative came as a result of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies’ (HATTA) call for assistance on saving Greece’s image in the UK market.
More specifically, ABTA-The Travel Association, ΑΙΤΟ-Association of Independent Tour Operators and FTO-Federation of Tour Operators sent an open letter to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanous and members of the Troika.
In the letter, the three federations (representing 844 tour operators and 3,547 travel agents) underlined the hard time Greek tourism is up against due to the “many negative and irresponsible comments” made about the country.
“Action must be taken immediately… to unlock funds for the promotion of Greece in the United Kingdom,” the letter read.
The travel federations have requested that the country’s bureaucracy be circumvented so a positive promotional campaign could commence immediately.
Also, the federations said it was vital for the Greek Government to appoint a PR agency to change the perception of Greece as right now it has the reputation of an “unstable destination to visit for holidaymakers.”
ABTA, ΑΙΤΟ and FTO warned Greek officials and the Troika that if funds for PR and promotional activity are not immediately forthcoming, then UK tour operators will cancel flight and accommodation capacity because “they are currently simply unable to sell the normal volume of holidays to Greece.”
In addition, Greek hoteliers also sent letters to Greek PM Lucas Papademos for the sake of Greek tourism.
The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels underlined the need to strengthen Greece’s communication to foreign states since “haziness” has been brought upon the country’s tourism profile and has resulted to a significant reduction in bookings.
The Athens-Attica Hoteliers Association also requested the personal intervention of PM Papademos to overturn the Greek capital’s current negative image.