Travel experts are fully aware that cheap holidays to Greece abound as the local economy falters. Phenomenal debt opened the country’s eyes to the financial importance of tourism. Discounted packages await travellers looking to experience Greece’s rich cultural past and some modern attractions.
Greece’s Financial Turbulence
2011 signalled the start of significant change for Greece. The country bordered on the edge of financial collapse despite receiving a bailout loan for 110 billion euros.
It became apparent to recently elected tourism minister Olga Kefalogianni that catering to foreign visitors might be the only thing that keeps Greece afloat.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported tourism accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the country’s domestic industry and employs 20 per cent of the population.
Tourism in Greece
Grecian marketing experts faced the daunting task of packaging their country to attract a wider market. Sunny beaches always attracted visitors from around the world, but beach tourism lasts a very short season. Ms. Kefalogianni realised an untapped plethora of historical attractions offered year-round visitation opportunities.
Protests regarding the crushing state of financial affairs posed an additional threat to potential tourism efforts. Anti-austerity rallies were a common site in larger cities like Athens. Tourism offices indicate the outlying areas of Greece, home to many popular historical sites including ancient temples, remain calm and continue to experience strong tourism numbers.
Future medical tourism facilities look to attract visitors for “refreshing” services provided in secluded beachfront settings. All-inclusive resorts with golf courses, salons and spas hope to bring in wealthier guests. After relaxing visa entry requirements for select countries and eliminating additional travel fees, Greece has also loosened restrictions on foreign investing. Ongoing talks aspire to bring new commercial developments for continued growth.
Cheap Travel Opportunities
Cheap travel compels many travellers to plan a Greek holiday. The New York Times reported in 2011 that Grecian hotels and other businesses received significant tax breaks. Owners lowered prices on goods and services and passed the savings on to budget-conscious consumers. Travel blogs state that Grecian holidays are considerably cheaper than adventures to neighbouring countries like Turkey.
Speculation abounds that holiday pricing in Greece is slowly increasing due to increased travel interest. The Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies assured the New York Times in June 2012 that discounted travel opportunities are still a priority to the Greek government. The announcement came as Greeks braced for another round of political and financial unrest that threatened to reduce tourism numbers by 15 per cent.
Cheap deals are still available though. I took a few minutes to Google for ‘holidays in Greece’ and landed on this site, where I found the following example deals. Sample pricing for a Grecian getaway includes a one-way flight starting at £51 from London to the island of Thessaloniki. Round-trip tickets from London to Athens range from £117.26 for a weekday departure to £164.07 for weekend departures. All prices are current as of January 2013.
Early booking made seven night package deals for two adults including round-trip flights and accommodation considerably cheaper. Rates ranged from £417.79 for trips booked five months in advance to £1,200.04 for same-month departures. Some flights or packages may only be available between the months of April until October, Greece’s high tourism season.
Currently Greece is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Some travel guides describe the experience as taking advantage of another’s misery. At no other time will illustrious treasures be accessible for such reasonable pricing.