Crete, Rhodes, Kos and Corfu rank as most popular Greek holiday destinations this year for customers at leading tour operator TUI Group, corporate communication manager for Southern Europe Mr. Evangelos Georgiou notes in interview with travel.gr.
Greece will, this year, rank as one of Europe’s biggest destinations and can benefit from the improvement in conditions as well as an overall sense of positivity surrounding the country, according to Mr. Evangelos Georgiou, corporate communication manager for Southern Europe at tour operator TUI Group, managing tourism inflow into Greece from at least 12 countries and offering accommodation at approximately 4,500 hotels in 24 parts of the country.
The full interview follows:
What are your estimates for this year’s tourist flow to Greece?
We believe that we can recapture 75 percent of our total activity in 2019. Of course, we still find ourselves amidst a pandemic and, as a result, making projections is difficult as travel destinations change continuously, which is forcing tourism firms to constantly adjust plans based on new conditions. We believe this season will be transitional and expect a full return to pre-pandemic tourism levels in 2022, possibly to levels exceeding those registered in 2019. We believe that Greece, this year, will rank among Europe’s leading destinations, but it should be pointed out that the UK market remains an uncertainty for as long as UK travel restrictions continue to apply. Overall, however, Greece can benefit this year from the general situation and positive climate concerning the country.
Which destinations in Greece are accumulating the greatest number of reservations and to what hotel categories are these headed for?
Crete, Rhodes, Kos and Corfu are presenting the greatest level of interest, but other Greek destinations are also displaying positive interest. This year, TUI is offering approximately 4,500 hotels at 24 Greek destinations. Crete and Rhodes are among TUI’s most popular destinations worldwide, which has been a trend in recent years and is continuing this year.
Apart from Greece, what other destinations are attracting a large number of bookings?
Based on current data, European tourism demand will, once again, this summer, focus on the two main Mediterranean destinations, Spain and Greece. In Spain, we are seeing a solid increase in reservations for Majorca and the other Balearic Islands, as well as the Canary Islands.
In what has been a difficult year due to the pandemic, what characteristics are being displayed in the travel behaviour of your customers?
We are seeing a wider shift in travel to Mediterranean countries, while it seems more time will be needed for intercontinental travel to recover. Subsequently, Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, stand to benefit from this development. As a matter of fact, this concentration of demand for the Mediterranean may be sustained over coming years to provide Mediterranean destinations with opportunities to make further market share gains. This year, we are also seeing a customer shift towards more expensive hotels and higher-quality services. Customers are also displaying stronger interest for authentic experiences, excursions and nature-related activities.
What are the TUI Group’s plans for Greece in the coming years?
Greece is one of TUI’s three most popular destinations for all European market customers. The country will definitely remain a focal point for the group in the coming years. We consider it important to underline the importance of tourism sustainability for the future. We will focus more on matters concerning sustainable tourism growth. Issues such as the European Green Deal, circular economy, energy saving and waste management are key priorities for tourism in the future.