Article spotted today on travel website

Agents reassured over Greek crisis

Agents are being reassured that it’s still safe to sell holidays to Greece despite fears of the country leaving the euro and of further civil unrest.

But as the country’s problems intensify, ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer has issued advice to agents and operators about how to deal with enquiries from worried customers.

“Their two main concerns will be the financial impact of Greece leaving the Euro and safety,” he said.

“No one knows exactly what would happen if, and that still is an if, Greece left the Euro, however it is likely there would be a transition period when holidaymakers would still be able to pay with Euros in bars and restaurants.”

Tanzer said agents should recommend that consumers do not rely on plastic and take plenty of cash with them as issues could arise with using credit and debit cards at Greek banks.

On the issue of civil unrest, he said there was no indication that holidaymakers will be affected.

“To date, demonstrations that we have seen on TV have been sporadic and limited to parts of central Athens and the second largest city Thessaloniki, neither of which are visited in significant numbers by UK holidaymakers,” he said.

“The vast majority of UK holidaymakers fly directly into the Greek islands which have not seen any unrest. I’m absolutely sure that this year, as ever, people travelling to Greece will be welcomed by the Greeks and their well known hospitality.”

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Thomson and First Choice said both operators were monitoring the situation closely and claimed sales to Greece had not been impacted.

“Thomson and First Choice have very close working relationships with our hoteliers and suppliers in Greece, and so we are well placed to deal with any eventuality or change in situation,” she said.

“Although there has been a lot of media attention on Greece this week, calls from customers enquiring about their holidays there have been minimal and sales have not been impacted.”
Unless the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changes its advice to the Greek Islands, the operators” usual booking conditions will apply, she added.

Greek specialist Olympic Holidays has launched a half price holiday campaign to Greece and said last week was its best booking week since January.
Commercial director Photis Lambrianides said it does not expect Greece to leave the Euro – at least not this summer – but it is prepared for whatever happens.

“All arrangements with our main partners are in readiness, should this situation develop. For instance, our hotel and other ground contracts would be converted to drachmas,” he said.

“Right now, Greece represents the best-ever value, with hoteliers bending over backwards to keep the tourism industry going, and the holiday pound worth up to 25% more in resort.”

By Bev Fearis


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