Described by the Independent as a “political earthquake that is rumbling from the Aegean across Europe”, the January 25 victory of the leftist Syriza party in Greece, seems to have created a backlash of distress amongst British tourists as to whether it will be wise to continue their holidays as planned before the Greek vote.
And although the newly-elected government doesn’t plan to ban all-inclusive resorts, it has said that it wishes to move away from the all-inclusive resort model to the traditional holiday scheme that will not “alienate tourism from the local economy”.
“There will be no action against all-inclusive tourism products. To the contrary, the further improvement in terms of quality will ensure the far-reaching benefits of this tourism model for local markets and societies,” newly-appointed Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said on Thursday.
Syriza has said that it will reexamine contracts with large resort chains as well as running privatization deals, which may also include deals to sell public land to resort developers and a plan to privatize 14 local airports serving Greek cities and islands.
A driving force of the Greek economy, the sector made a comeback in 2014 recording a record 22 million arrivals. Some two million Brits visit Greece annually.
“We do not want to continue the current saturated model of intensive exploitation of tourism,” said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
In the meantime, tour operators across the globe insist that travellers are more likely to gain from the election result due to the favorable exchange rate against the euro, which will offer them their money’s worth.
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) chairman and managing director of Sunvil Holidays Noel Josephides backed this up by saying that trips to Greece, France, Spain and Italy “can only get cheaper”. He also added that protests and unrest are highly unlikely.
“Tour operators are tied in when it comes to both currency and fuel, so booking late and independently could be cheaper,” Josephides told the Telegraph.
Thomas Cook has said the change in government will have no impact on their operations in Greece. “As a tour operator, we are there to support our customers, who can be confident they can book their holidays to Greece with us without any concern.”
Tour services providers add that any changes to the tax framework by the new government will not affect the cost of package holidays as contracts and prices have already been signed.
According to the Daily Mail, all-inclusive deals accounted for about £1.5billion of the Greek travel industry’s projected £12billion in revenue in 2014.