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Early bookings look good for Greece

- by Archimedes

Sales already well up for the 2014 season.

Early booking for holidays in the Greek Islands are already looking good with sales well up for the forthcoming 2014 holiday season.

The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) says early bird bookings from the UK already show a 10% rise on last year as holidaymakers cash in on cheap package deals.

Details of the rise in early holiday bookings were revealed by SETE president Andreas Andreadis who has been attending the World Travel Market in London.

"Greece not only has made a big comeback in 2013r but it is also moving full steam ahead for 2014," he said.

Advance booking figures were revealed during talks between the SETE president and travel executives from some of the leading British tour operators.

The news will be welcomed by Greek hotel owners who greeted a record number of holiday visitors in 2013. Even so, this is the first year that Greece has gained market share on its main competitors so early in the season.

Summer holiday rivals such as Spain and Turkey report early bookings at much the same level as previous seasons, although holiday bookings to Egypt show a "serious decline" in the wake of political unrest in the country.

Holidays to Greece and the Greek Island picked up sharply in June this year after a slow start. Political problems and street protests over austerity measures had threatened to drive down tourist visitors.

But the election of a stable government in June and a fall off in protest strikes and civil unrest prompted a massive surge in bookings for Greek holidays during the rest of the year.

Tourism officials are confident Greece will now notch up a record year for holiday visitors when numbers are totalled at the end of the 2013 season.

A large increase in Russian visitors helped to more than offset the drop in holidaymakers from German while UK arrivals stayed fairly constant and even rose slightly on some of the more popular holiday island destinations.

SETE's president was confident that Greece could do even better this year if the early holiday trends continued into next season.

He said it was perfectly possible for Greece to even beat this year's expected record of 17.5 million visitors and to achieve a 2014 target of more than 18 million arrivals for Greek Island holidays.