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Capital controls and Paris keep Greeks at home for the holidays

20 December 2015 / 19:12:05  GRReporter
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Hotels across popular tourist destinations in Greece are filled to capacity for the Christmas holidays. According to estimates of the management bodies of local hotel associations, one of the reasons for this is the fear of new terrorist attacks in popular overseas destinations.

Besides, many are those who prefer the local experience this year for financial constraints issuing from capital controls. Hoteliers say they have kept prices at last year's levels, without reflecting the VAT increase. This is a somewhat compensated by the reduction of energy costs due to declining oil prices.


Kalavryta, photo

For example, the president of the Kalavryta Hotel Association, Dinos Dafalias, believes that the terrorist attack in Paris was the most important factor for the increase of tourists in his region. Hotels and other accommodations in Kalavryta have 1,500 beds, and 85% of them have been filled so far. Occupancy percentages are similar in the neighbouring district of Trikala in Corinthia, where they run about 900 beds, according to the business chamber president, Nikos Teodoratos. He also claims that prices are the same as last year, with hotels offering various promotions, e.g. free lunches or sundry additional services. According to him, the fall in oil prices has made up for the VAT rise, with capital controls having bolstered last minute bookings.

At Pelion, yet another traditional winter destination, figures are looking pretty, too. Occupancy is at 90% according to Magnesia Hotel Association Chairman Georgios Zafiris. New Year's Eve percentages are less impressive at 65%, and the days between the holidays are only 55% booked – as Zafiris says, "there are rooms available." Zafiris believes that bookings, especially in Volos, will hit 100%. And quite a few of them are for 3-4 days because the holidays this year happily chain up with the weekends.

The situation is similar in Arcadia, especially in the region's highlands. Bookings for Christmas and New Year will reach 100%, says Hotel Association President Costas Marinakos. Hotels offer various promotions for the days before, between and after the holidays. This is a favourite area for fans of extreme recreation forms, such as rafting.

Up north

80% of beds have been booked in Ioannina and Zagorohoria, according to the Hotel Association chairman, Kostas Vlachos. The region boasts about 7,000 beds. Strikingly, the hotels with the highest number of stars are the busiest ones this year.

According to the Florina association chairman, Michalis Parlamis, occupancy has reached 100% out there. They have about 2,000 beds. The region's aficionados can use some vacancies, but only for the days between 28 and 30 December and on Epiphany (Theofania or Fota, January 6). Parlamis also believes that Greek's decision to stay in the country for the holidays is largely due to the fear of terrorist attacks.

Arachova beats the crisis at Christmas


photo choice

For many in Greece, Christmas and New Year mean Arachova. Which is why, even during a crisis, 90% of rooms are occupied, and growing. Even around Theofania the percentage is still 75%, says Yannis Georgakos, Mayor of Distomo, Arachova and Andikitira, who also chairs the local hotel association. He believes the Paris attacks have ramped up local reservations with about 10%.

Georgakos claims that accommodation prices in the area are on the same level as during the last three years. The destination has 2500 beds. The upgrading of the Parnassos ski resort has also played a crucial role for bookings: local tourist sector figures say that "the facilities are now the same as those in classy overseas resorts". The outstandingly high standard of services is yet another important factor.


Tags: holidays destinations reservations capital controls terrorist attacks Arachova Kalavryta Zagorohoria Ioannina
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