Travel from Italy to Greece for the summer of 2021 will depend on last-minute bookings, according to Italian tourism experts and tour operators.
Reservations are close to zero at the moment due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, as well as the measures undertaken in Italy and the international travel restrictions.
“All reservations this year will be made at the last minute,” said Ivana Jelic, president of FIAVET (Federazione Italiana Associazioni Imprese Viaggi e Turismo) during the Greek Panorama Virtual Expo that took place recently online.
“We hope that with the safety protocols in place, we will be able to restart (operations),” she noted and added that Greece remains a dream destination for many Italians.
Italians are ‘last-minute’ travelers
Italians have always been “last-minute” travelers, however, due the pandemic, this trend has emerged stronger in 2021 compared to previous years, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Director in Italy Kyriaki Boulasidou said during the same event.
“This year, we expect bookings for August to take place in July,” she noted.
According to Boulasidou, the Covid-19 vaccination process is slowly evolving in Italy, with only 2 percent of the population having taken a double dose of the vaccine so far, and a 3.5 percent still waiting for the second dose.
“Hopefully, 20 millions Italians will have been vaccinated by June,” she said.
Boulasidou estimates that the travel plans of Italians will be determined by the country’s Covid-19 measures, the course of vaccinations as well as the measures undertaken in other countries.
“It is important for Italians to know in advance that the country they’ll travel to is safe… Safety is the new luxury,” she added.
In efforts to further promote Greece and its tourism offerings to the Italian market, the GNTO office in Italy, is organizing virtual tours, webinars and other online events for tourism professionals and journalists.
Greece among most searched destinations
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, Italians are searching for summer destinations and appear eager to book their next holidays.
According to Alessandro Biasi, Global & Strategic Partnership Manager of Alpitour World, one of Italy’s largest tour operators, Italians will travel to Italy and the Mediterranean this summer.
“We are confident that the Mediterranean market will reopen in mid-March or early April. We expect Italy to perform very well. Greece will rank second [in the preferences of Italian travelers] with Spain in third place,” Biasi said.
The Greek Panorama Virtual Expo, every month holds online events focusing on tourism and the industry’s latest trends and developments. The expo is organized by North Events and Travel Media Applications, and broadcast online from the studios of Podimatas SA.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media partner of the Greek Panorama Virtual Expo.