Greece’s troubled economy has been dealt another blow with the news that tourists are turning their backs on the country as a result of civil unrest caused by its financial difficulties.
An analysis of over 130,000 holidays by The Co-operative Travel shows that current bookings to Greece have dropped by 15% compared to the same week last year.
Previously the Greek tourist industry had been booming, capitalising on public caution about travelling to Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, with booking volumes up 3% on 2010 and spending on Greek holidays up by 7%.
However, the country looks like it will miss out on the valuable rush of late summer bookers, in which Greek holidays normally account for 16% of total sales.
The price for Greek holidays has also plummeted, with the average per person price being paid this week falling to £530, from a previous average of £600.
Spain and Portugal are benefiting from Greece’s misfortune, with tourists deciding to head west. Bookings to Spain were up by 15% and Portugal up by 20%. Malta also saw an enormous 32% increase in late bookings.
Mike Greenacre, Managing Director of The Co-operative Travel, said: “The total holiday market is holding steady and in recent weeks has shown signs of good growth.
“However, events this year have really shaken public confidence in certain countries. People don’t want to gamble with their holiday and North African destinations and now Greece have suffered as a result.
“With people feeling like their options are being squeezed, Spain and Portugal are the obvious alternatives for a good value summer break. These countries are not without their own economic problems, so the significant increase in visitors to the region will come as a relief to its very important tourism sector.”