Greece is the word according to global tour giants TUI and Thomas Cook, who are backing their claim with hard data. Bookings have increased as the hotter months draw near with both companies expanding their Greek market share. Thomas Cook reported a 12 per cent rise in summer bookings this year, with Greece the “standout” destination, as the Greek holiday market recovered after a year marked by terrorist attacks and political instability.
Alltours joins Thomas Cook and TUI, which says the number of reservations for Greek destinations has grown by 20 percent. To tap into the demand, the German operator increased its share in Greece by 23 percent this year.
Thomas Cook, meanwhile, speaks of an excellent year ahead for the Greek holiday market, adding that its Greek island partners on Kos and Corfu are fully booked. The UK company said earlier this year that bookings for holidays in Greece were up by as much as 40 percent compared to last year.
More than 30 million tourists are expected to visit Greece this year, including cruise passengers, with tourism-related revenues estimated at reaching 14.5 billion euros.
Tourism sector professionals are also seeing an increase in the cost of package deals at popular Mediterranean destinations including the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Spain and the Greek islands.
There were signs that the sharp fall in bookings to Turkey and Egypt had bottomed out, with Turkey in line with this time last year and a “significant increase in bookings” to Egypt in the past few weeks, the tour operator said. In the last financial year, revenues for the two countries fell 50 per cent as terrorist attacks in Europe deterred some people from going on holiday and affected the choice of destination for others. Turkey was Thomas Cook’s second-largest market in 2015 with just over a fifth of bookings.
As well as strong interest in Greek holiday market for this summer, the company reported more demand for trips to Bulgaria and Cyprus, as well as long-haul destinations. The group is developing own-brand hotels and resorts, including Casa Cook on the Greek island of Kos. Bookings from customers in mainland Europe were strong in the first half but only rose 2 per cent in the UK, where tough competition has pushed Thomas Cook to focus on selling higher-margin holidays rather than growing volumes.