GREECE hotels and luxury resorts are slashing their prices ahead of Brits returning this year to encourage holidaymakers to visit.
Some are selling holidays for half the usual cost this time of year.
Brits may be able to visit Greece from next month after a dramatic u-turn by the country to allow UK holidaymakers from July, although the UK government is yet to allow overseas travel yet.
On Lefkada, the Ionian island beloved by Brits, iconic resorts are dropping rates in the hope of luring UK visitors when direct flights resume to Greek islands.
“This year we expect cuts of 20 per cent compared to last year,” said Manolis Thermo president of the local hoteliers’ union adding that the season had started with “zero” bookings.
Four-star hotels on Lefkada are now costing around €150 per night now, half the usual price, as he added: "Prices are right down."
Popular destinations whose eye-watering prices are usually off-limits for most will, it seems, also be affordable this year.
In Santorini, hoteliers say although health protocols will hike running expenses, they are ready to make “brilliant” offers to draw crowds.
Occupancy rates on the island are currently hovering around 5-10 per cent – unheard of in a destination more usually associated with overtourism.
"There'll be some discounts of between 15 to 25 per cent to make resorts more attractive," said Antonis Iliopoulos who heads the guild of local hoteliers.
In northern Greece luxury resorts are offering seven and 14-day packages with discounts of up to 25 per cent.
The five-star Eagles Palace in Halkidiki, which is already in talks with UK tour operators, says bargains will depend on the number of nights spent at the hotel. Half and full board will even be thrown in.
“For a stay of seven nights we are offering a discount of 20 per cent to our customers and half board at a restaurant of their choice,” said Dimos Tournivoukas, president of the Tor group which owns the historic hotel.
For overnight stays of up to 14 days, discounts rose to 25 per cent and included full board, he told local media.
Greek islands have had almost no cases of coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in March.
Local businesses are now banking on tourists opting for the sun-kissed playgrounds because of their safety record.
Planes are due to start flying from the UK to Athens and Salonika in northern Greece on June 15.
We've rounded up some of the best deals you can find for a week in Greece this summer:
- Seven nights in Corfu with flights from London Southend – £126pp
- Seven nights in Santorini with flights from London Gatwick – £218pp
- Seven nights in Kos with flights from Glasgow – £225pp
- Seven nights at five-star Alia Palace with flights from London Stansted – £383pp
Greek authorities are already preparing for tourists who test positive for the virus.
Under an action plan laid out to bolster health care facilities, a colour coded scheme will apply dividing the islands into three zones depending on risk. Crete, and islands with close access to hospitals, will be in the green zone.
The orange area, dubbed the “moderate danger” zone, will have Covid-19 clinics but no access to hospitals. Rhodes, Santorini and Kos will be in that zone.
The red zone will include remote islands without covid-19 clinics all of which will have to rely on floating ambulances.
At least three boat ambulances have been lined up to roam the seas this summer. Every resort will have a doctor on call and some hotels will be used especially for quarantine purposes.
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