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Greek island holidays bookings boost

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The future still looks bright for Greek Island holidays with advance bookings for 2017 from the UK up a healthy 11% on last year.

Latest tourism data shows similar rises across the board for early holiday bookings to resorts in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

It appears that Greece is picking up some of the fallout in the drop in holiday bookings to Turkey, France and Tunisia in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

Figures are based on short haul flight bookings only, but it still shows Greece among the front-runners for next season.

The short haul holiday flight market is 14.6% up on early bookings for 2016 with Spain taking the giant share at nearly 48%.

It is Turkey and France taking the biggest hit with flight bookings down 30% and 15% respectively.

Market analysts say people are booking earlier than ever to get the holidays of their choice with a 13% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers.

The rise in early bookings follows a record number of arrivals and revenue in the Greek Islands in 2015 and high expectations that 2016 will be even better.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura says the tourism industry had overcome difficulties with the Greek economy and the refugee crisis.

It is the latter that is believed to be behind a record number of holiday visitors to the Ionian Islands this year.

The islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkas and Kefalonia recorded a 13.2% rise in holidaymakers from January to October.

It has put the Ionian Islands top of the table for increased arrivals in 2016. Located to the west of mainland Greece, the Ionians have remained unaffected by the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

According to latest figures, Corfu saw arrivals at airports go up 31.8% this year while Kefalonia saw a 37.7% increase and Zante jumped a whopping 51%.

Greece has plans to attract more high-income tourists this year with a massive promotion of Greek island holiday destinations.

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