Due to the alarming increase in terrorist activities in Europe, such as the recent attack in Madrid, has resulted in Greek holidaymakers changing their holiday destination preferences from European countries such as Paris, Madrid, London to Southeast Asia as well as South and Central America. Easter seems to be the preferred holiday for these vacations, though the idea of an Easter feast without the traditional elements such as magheritsa soup and traditional spit roasted lamb does not seem to be a big bother for many Greeks.
Following the recent terrorist attack in Madrid, European destinations have seen a slump in prices, especially in Spain, with one travel agency even offering a three day package, with stay in an A-class hotel, airfare included, all for 210 Euros. Current rates stand as low as 198 Euros for Paris, 232 Euros for a holiday package in Rome and 240 Euros for holidaying in Paris. But this does not seem to have affected the rising favor for Asia and America.
“Packages for countries in Southeast Asia and America have become more attractive than last year, when there was a slump due to SARS and the Iraq War”, says Vangelis Katsimichas, a travel agent. Prices to these destinations seem to have increased with Bangkok at 565 Euros, which includes five nights and airfare and Bali at 667 Euros, which includes 8 nights. London, though seems to be in the same price range, though less popular.
There are some European destinations which have not witnessed a slump, these include Corsica, Prague, Malta, Venice and Sardinia, and surprisingly Istanbul, despite terrorist attacks recently. “Some other destinations which are popular are Georgia, Russia, Bolivia and Peru, which organize culture trips and special holidays”, informed Nasos Trentzos, another travel agent.
Religious holidays during this season are generally quite popular, such as tours to Jerusalem, but these have also been hit by a slump due to the increasing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, which has seen a marked increase in recent times, fueled due to the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, Hamas Leader.
Within Greek, traditional choices such as Syros, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes remain popular, though they have become more expensive than other countries in Europe. A stay of five days in any A’ class hotel in Santorini will make a dent of 400 Euros in your pocket, while four days of luxurious stay in a quality hotel in Europe will only cost you 250 Euros. In fact, places such as Karpenisi, where five days of stay in any luxury hotel costs a whopping 800 Euros, much more than a trip to Singapore, seem to be starting a trend.
The overall impact does not seem to have gone down well, especially for travel agencies, which are most impacted by the slump in bookings. Terrorism seems to be only one of the concerns, with sky rocketing prices being another deciding factor in the lack of bookings during holidays. The only favorable side to this will be for people making reservations at the last minute, with ample options open to them.