Outlook good for cheap holidays in Greece
Dabs Banner: January 2015
Holidays in Greece could be even cheaper this year after the left-wing Syriza party topped the polls in the Greek government elections.
Fears that a Syriza win would throw Europe into a panic proved foundless as the new party leaders vowed to keep Greece in the Eurozone.
The pledge to stay in Europe, coupled with a decision to pump trillons of euros into the economy, has helped allay fears of a Grexit and a slump in the money markets.
And as the dust settles on the election surprise, holiday companies are assessing the impact on the Greek island market this year.
And tour operators are confident the new regime could bring cheaper holidays, improved transport links and fewer strikes in the 2015 summer season.
Bus, taxi and ferry strikes can sometimes be the bane of UK tourists who have found holiday travel plans severely disrupted by striking workers. Visitors have found ferries confined to ports, roads blockaded and street protests in full swing.
Tourism leaders expect to see a lot less social unrest across the country in the wake of such a big election victory.
Political uncertainty in the weeks before the elections saw a temporary drop in bookings for Greek Islands holidays but business picked up quickly when the outcome of the election became clear.
With a popular left-wing party in power, Greeks will be far less likely to take to strike action when pursuing demands for more pay, longer holidays or better working conditions.
Bookings for holidays in Greece for 2015 so far are now slightly up on the figures for the same period last year, a record year for tourism in Greece.
UK holidaymakers, in particular, are able to take advantage of a good exchange rate with the euro, helping them to stretch their holiday euros that little bit further.
UK visitors will find their British Pounds go much further when buying meals in Greek tavernas, sipping ouzo in Greek bars or ordering coffee in Greek cafes.
Some argue it could have been even better if Greece has left the eurozone with a new drachma tumbling in value.
But such a move could also have had repercussions across Europe, even threatening the recent British revival, and would almost certainly have led to the closure of Greek banks and many firms, even hotel and ferry companies, being declared bankrupt.
A further factor that may benefit independent holiday visitors to Greece is the pledge by Syriza to renationalise the Greek ferry services.
Ferries at the moment are run by several private companies in competition. It means that popular routes are often oversubscribed while services to the more remote islands deteriorate.
A condition of any licence for a highly profitable route maybe that the company runs services to remote islands or continues to sail routes through the winter when customers are fewer.
Tour operators are already flooding the market with bargains in a bid to stimulate early season sales.
Latest figures to 2014 have yet to be collated but it is certain that holidays to Greece will have broken the all-time record last year with visitors to November already nudged past the 21 million mark, a rise of 22% on 2013.
Greek hotel and taverna owners will be hoping for even great visitor numbers this year as the Greek holiday industry looks set to the only sector of the ailing greek economy to show signs of growth.
The new Greek government will no doubt be eager to get their hands on as much foreign cash as possible while UK holidaymakers will be looking forward to a carefree and cheap holiday in Greece in 2015.