Travel giant TUI on Monday said bookings to Greece for next summer are looking ‘outstandingly good’, which is a result of how well Greece prepared its tourism restart in the post-Covid-19 era.
“The way the government in Greece prepared to restart could have been a blueprint for many destinations in Europe because the country has been very successful and the tourism season is continuing,” Thomas Ellerbeck, member of TUI Group Executive Committee and responsible for Corporate and Political Affairs, said during a web press conference.
During the press conference, TUI executives labeled Greece as its “most important destination” for its guests today due to the country’s successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic and commitment to implementing strict health and safety protocols for tourism.
“The measures taken by the Greek government were definitely the right ones; on the one hand taken to protect the people of Greece, but on the other, taken to let customers know that they can have a very safe vacation… I am happy to say that what was implemented in Greece has been the benchmark for the tourism sector,” said Sebastian Ebel, member of the Executive Board of TUI Group and responsible for Hotels, Cruises and Activities.
TUI extends 2020 Greek tourism season
Due to demand, TUI for the first time will extend its business in Greece through November with flights and cruise routes, this way prolonging the tourism season.
Regarding TUI’s cruises, the company will carry out four itineraries next month from Heraklion (port of departure) on Crete, which are expected to bring a total of 6,000-7,000 cruise passengers to Greece. It is reminded that after successfully restarting cruise travel from German ports, TUI’s first international port of departure was Heraklion.
“Developing Greece from a 5-month destination to a 9-month destination will help the profitability of Greek hoteliers, help people be employed longer and will be good for the economy,” Ebel said.
He added that this year’s extension of the tourism season is a “big opportunity” for Greece to attract guests during the winter months in the future.
“This is an opportunity (for Greece) because if the satisfaction rates and the quality remain how they are know, people will come back,” Ebel said.
1m TUI guests in Greece for 2020
Overall, by the end of 2020, the company estimates that it will have brought some one million guests to Greece since tourism reopened, against last year’s 3 million.
“This year has been – although the numbers are still not where they had been before – for me a success story,” Ebel said, adding that Greece’s tourist product “stands for itself” and the feedback on how the country is dealing with Covid-19 is extremely positve.
According to Ebel, although it is difficult to make a safe forecast for 2021 due to the current circumstances, demand for Greece for travel next year is showing very positive signs.
“The bookings next year look outstandingly good for Greece… We do know that everything depends on the Covid-19 situation and that the infection rates stay where they are… But again, also there, Greece has done a great job,” he said.