The World Travel Market (WTM) 2019 in London once again took place in light of the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.
And although last year’s fair saw the majority of travel professionals worried that consumer confidence would be shattered, this year it seems more like “business as usual”.
For now, it seems that Brexit is not deterring Brits from booking and taking overseas holidays.
In regards to Greece, the country’s key tourism stakeholders – so far – do not see a “Brexit effect” on the booking behavior of British holidaymakers for travel to Greece.
While speaking to the media, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said that for the time being, he does not see negative results.
“Of course, no one can be sure how things will turn out… But we expect that the outcome will be positive and not negative,” the minister said on the sidelines of WTM London 2019.
Moreover, he underlined that with a framework is being formed, British holidaymakers can plan their vacations more confidently.
The president of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), Angela Gerekou, sees no panic from the British side.
“I believe that the UK is so organized as a country, so that whatever will happen will be normalized, without much commotion,” she told GTP Headlines.
“There may, of course, be a financial crisis as far as one’s spending capabilities are concerned, but the tourism segment seems to be unchanged. Nevertheless, the GNTO is ready with our UK office, to further promote our quality thematic tourism products that can attract the same revenue and even more… But it does not appear that Brexit will greatly affect Greek tourism.”
“When the time comes, we will see, but in the end it seems that our British travelers are not affected – so far – by Brexit getting closer. Since there has been no problem until now, I can’t say that I see anything to be concerned about at the moment.”
Wanting to give a message to British travelers, Retsos said that they should be informed that Greece is taking steps to becoming an even better destination in regards to sustainability.
“I believe that all those involved in tourism will now begin to, not only discuss the concepts of quality and sustainability very seriously, but move on to the next phase, which is establishing practices to achieve better quality and sustainability in our tourism,” he said.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels
“I can say that this is a bit of a surprise because objective factors do not point in that direction. Whether we are talking about Brexit or the aftermath of Brexit – visa difficulties, the drop of the pound, the drop in the traveler’s psychology – or we are talking about the impact of the Thomas Cook collapse, or about the general picture in the UK, which is not at its best right now, nevertheless, from the side of hoteliers, I see a moderate optimism. And we are not seeing the Brits reluctant or slowing down in regards to travel.”
Vassilikos added that although it is still early to make any predictions for the 2020 season, he sees a positive sign.
“Although in the next six months anything can happen, I must say that the picture is positive.”
Hellenic Hoteliers Federation
The president of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers, Grigoris Tasios, said that he does not see much concern about a Brexit effect on travel.
“The positive climate from the British market is also beginning to appear through early bookings,” he told GTP Headlines.
Moreover, Tasios said that the big players in the UK market, such as TUI and Jet.com, are vigorously seeking to secure destinations in our country by the January 31, 2020, deadline.
“There are still three whole months of sales for them, which means them securing the currency rate on travel packages,” he said.
Tasios also mentioned that Greek hoteliers have maintained the same prices as 2019, making them competitive to UK travelers.
On the first day of this year’s WTM London 2019, data released by STR showed that one in three worldwide travellers are delaying travel plans because of uncertainty over Brexit.
Moreover, during a panel discussion on Brexit, experts agreed that careful planning on behalf of hotels, tour operators, businesses and anyone involved in the travel industry was the best way to make sure that the industry remains as unaffected as possible by the political climate.
The WTM London 2019 expo will run until Wednesday.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is an official media partner of the expo.