Greek holidays top the polls
Andy Cornish: January 2015
Greek Island holidays continue to top the polls worldwide despite the recent political upheavals.
As the summer holiday season 2015 gets under way several leading global publications make Greece their top choice travel destination this year.
The backing comes despite fears that snap elections later this month could trigger another political crisis and even a Greek exit from the Eurozone.
The World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), for example, points out that tourism in Greece has demonstrated impressive growth of 16.7% year-on-year over the past three years.
And a Bloom Consulting report says Greece continues to have one of the world's strongest brand names despite being hampered with an economic crisis that has dragged on for years.
Media publications far and wide are predicting another surge in Greek Island holidays this year with the UK's Independent newspaper placing Greek resorts among its top ten choice for 2015.
It's travel writers say confidence is returning to Greece among tour operators, their promising outlook backed by evidence such as British Airways introducing new air routes to Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos this year.
And cut-price carrier Ryanair has added flights from Athens to the island of Santorini starting in April. The airline will operate two flights a day to Santorini and plans to increase flights to Chania on Crete from two to three a day.
Rival cheap flier Easyjet has also announce new Greek destinations for the coming summer with flights from Rome to the islands of Zante and Kos and from Geneva to Santorini.
Below the headline 'Greece is Back' the influential Huffington Post claims visitors to the Greek Islands are 'back in droves' and picks out Mykonos, Santorini and Crete among the fast growing islands in terms of visitor numbers.
It's not just the islands that are picking up accolades either. The US news media giant CNN has announced mainland resorts among its top picks, including the inland stone villages of Zagori in north-west Greece, the landscape and town houses of the Mani and the southern Peloponnese.
And the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has listed the Peloponnese as a "destination to watch" for 2015 as Greece announces plans to upgrade the local rail network.
Work is also under way on an expansion of the cruise terminal in Piraeus this year, set to make it the biggest cruise hub in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The 136 million investment, 95% subsidized by the EU, will the biggest and best cruise ships, some of which are more than 300 metres long, to dock at Piraeus.
An ABTA report reveals that holidaymakers are now more keen than ever on getting value for money and prefer package holiday deals that include activities, events, shows or multi-centre holidays.
Holidaymakers are also more likely than ever to explore new destinations and try out novel activities in 2015. Other holiday trends include a desire for more hands-on authentic holiday experiences and for holidays linked to celebrations such as weddings and anniversaries.
Despite the promotion there is no getting away from a slow start on bookings for Greek island holidays this year as Greece faces snap elections just when the country has been showing signs of recovery from its financial troubles.
Market experts fear that political turmoil ahead of the elections and bad press may lead to potential holiday visitors holding back before booking a Greek island holiday this year or worse, even looking somewhere else.