Traditional winter destinations – mostly in mainland Greece – together with Athens, Thessaloniki, and cities hosting Christmas theme parks are set to win over the crowds this holiday season, according to the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX).
POX officials are forecasting occupancy levels to reach 80 percent at mainland destinations, adding that the positive trend will continue into the New Year through to Greece’s January 6 Theophany (Fota) holiday.
Travelers, POX adds, can also benefit from friendlier prices in between the holidays. Besides destinations hosting theme parks, POX expects traffic to pick up in areas with ski resorts but points out that it will depend on the weather.
Areas singled out by Greek holidaymakers thus far include Arcadia, Imathia and Drama, with hotel capacity based on pre-bookings at 70 percent for Christmas. The northern town of Ioannina is fully booked for Christmas with forecasts placing New Year’s Day occupancy levels at 70 percent.
Kalavryta – home to one of the country’s largest ski resorts – is yet again fully booked for Christmas at 100 percent, and 80 percent at the moment for New Year’s.
Pieria in the Central Macedonia Region is also a winner this year reaching 80 percent capacity for Christmas with New Year’s traffic expected to be even higher attracting travelers from neighboring Balkan countries.
The Central Greece town of Volos and the traditional Pelion Mountain villages are also fully booked through to January 8.
Although hoteliers are optimistic that tourist traffic during the holiday season will increase, POX officials note that mainland Greece destinations usually reach full capacity for less than 50 days a year, making tourist businesses there unviable.
In view of the seasonality factor in these areas, POX has reiterated its proposal for the establishment of an annual four-day mid-winter school break, the so-called “Ski Week”, aimed at offering incentives for family tours, boosting tourism at these destinations as well as reviving tourist activity at lesser-known destinations across Greece, and finally strengthening local communities and economies tested by the crisis.
POX goes on to underline that the new law covering thematic and special interest tourism passed in Greek parliament earlier this month, requires political will and actions by all stakeholders involved in tourism in order to reform the tourism model in Greece, ensuring that benefits are spread evenly across the country.