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Greek Travel Agencies' Record Decline in Holiday Travel

A major decline in travel by Greeks, both abroad and domestically, was recorded in the Christmas-New Year holiday season this year, according to travel bureau representatives.
The reduction in holiday travel mainly concerns middle incomes.  The middle income level is traditionally the staple clientele of travel bureaus, which attribute the decline chiefly to the economic crisis, according to representatives of Athens based travel offices.
Organised trips to European countries fell by 45-50% over the holidays. Domestic tourism dropped by 25%, Christoforos Mouzakis, director of organised trips to European destinations at a major travel agency in Athens, told ANA-MPA.
He said that the 400, 500 and 700 euros travel package visitors to central European destinations — mainly civil servants and public sector employees, was the category worst hit.  It was followed by young couples and families, indicating that the cause was the economic crisis.
However, the more expensive packages for destinations abroad such as the U.S., were not affected.  Destinations such as the U.S. have a limited number of customers to begin with and also attract higher income travelers.
Mouzakis further noted that most of the travelers booked their trips at the last minute, waiting first for the special discount packages to be announced by the travel bureaus.
Another Athens-based travel bureau director for ticket and hotel booking, Roula Krezia, told ANA-MPA that a slump was recorded over the holidays in airline ticket bookings for such destinations as Prague, Vienna and Budapest.  She noted that both are inexpensive destinations and local hotels were offering reduced prices.
Krezia further noted that travelers over the holidays generally avoided organised trips abroad and opted instead for individual bookings, seeking inexpensive solutions over the internet.  A slump was also recorded in the most popular domestic destinations such as Pilion and the Zagorochoria. Destinations closer to Athens such as Nafplio and Loutraki, fared a bit better.
(source: ana-mpa)

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