22 June 2011

Cheaper Holidays in Greece

Despite the regular protests in Athens, the millions of Britons who spend their holidays in Greece are set for safe, less expensive breaks — though flexibility should be built in to travel plans.


It may have again turned violent in the centre of the Greek capital, but most holidaymakers will have been totally oblivious to the protests. Summer bookings are well up on last year after a host of incentives to attract more visitors to Greece and its islands and to provide a much-needed boost to the beleaguered Greek economy.

It is certainly wise to be aware of possible strike plans and avoid the centre of Athens during protests, as they can turn violent. Strikes can also cause travel disruption if they affect public transport, flights or ferry services, as they often do, depending on who takes part in the work stoppages. The latest nationwide action left flights into and across Greece unaffected as air traffic controllers did not walk out, but it is wise to ask travel agents or hotel operators about possible strike plans.

The economic crisis and austerity measures have made life more difficult for most ordinary Greeks, who have seen their pay cut and taxes rise, but it has also resulted in better deals and some bargains for holidaymakers.

To boost the key tourism sector and attract more tourists, the Government has already reduced the VAT rate charged on holiday accommodation and axed all landing fees at airports in the islands, making it cheaper for scheduled and charter flight operators, who should pass on the savings to visitors.

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