50% off Greek holidays as Euro exit looms

Protesters back the anti-austerity stance of the Greek government in Brussels yesterday. Picture: AP
Protesters back the anti-austerity stance of the Greek government in Brussels yesterday. Picture: AP
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HOLIDAYMAKERS are being enticed with bargain package deals to Greece amid the looming threat of the country’s exit from the eurozone.

Tour operators have slashed the cost of getaways to resorts traditionally popular with Scots tourists, with savings of up to 50 per cent in some cases as firms look to offload unsold package holidays.

Travel firms said there has been no let-up in demand for bookings to Greek destinations, but urged people to ensure they travelled with reputable, Atol-protected firms.

With the Greek economy plunged into a state of uncertainty, the nation’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday presented a new bailout agreement proposal ahead of a crucial emergency eurozone summit.

The proposal has been presented to French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

It comes as hundreds of Scots tourists prepare to fly out to Greece today, with Thomas Cook and Jet2.com operating scheduled flights from Glasgow Airport to Corfu.

Tour operators will he hoping others will follow in their wake and are making heavy discounts on package trips to Greek 
islands.

A seven-night Airtours package holiday flying out from Glasgow Airport to the self-catering Tassia Studios in Zante on 12 July is available for just £389 per person, a saving of £386, when booked via Thomas Cook.

Scottish travel firm Barrhead Travel is selling a week’s self-catering holiday, flying out from Glasgow on 8 July to the three-star Finas Hotel Apartments in Rhodes, from just £329 per 
person.

The chairman of the company, Bill Munro, said that there has been no decline in demand for Greek holidays despite the economic situation, but tourists should book through firms like his own.

He explained: “I would certainly strongly encourage people against travelling independently to Greece. If you book through an Atol-protected travel company then they are legally bound to look after you and bring you home safely if anything goes wrong.”

Another leading operator, Thomson Holidays, is offering a week’s self-catering at the Nostos Studios on the island of Thassos for £384 per person, a price drop of 45 per cent.

The firm Travelzoo is selling a week’s self-catering holiday in July at Corfu’s Elenitsa Studios for a mere £158 per person, less than the cost of the flight.

Ionian Island Holidays, which specialises in upmarket villa destinations, has slashed its flight-inclusive trips by up to 50 per cent, with a week-long stay in a one-bedroom flat in Corfu’s Agios region available for £405 per person, down from the normal price of £809.

Sunvil Holidays, meanwhile, has slashed the costs of a range of package holidays to Greece in July, with no fewer than 176 pages of discounted offers advertised on its website.

The Association of British Travel Agents yesterday emphasised that speculation about a possible Greece debt default and potential exit from the Euro remains just that at present.

In a statement, it said: “Any changes would be highly unlikely to happen overnight, any switch to a new currency would take time and Euros would likely be accepted in the interim.”

It added: “Holidaymakers heading out to Greece this summer are advised to take some cash in Euros with them as well as other payment methods - credit or debit cards - so they are covered for all situations.

“We would also advise them, as we would with any destination, to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday to provide protection.”