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TOURISM > Greece bookings fall, firms say

FRANKFURT - Reuters

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Small harbor of Greece’s Symi island in the Rhodes regional unit is seen in this file photo. Greek tourism faces a hard year.

Small harbor of Greece’s Symi island in the Rhodes regional unit is seen in this file photo. Greek tourism faces a hard year.

Two more German travel firms said they were seeing a sharp plunge in bookings to Greece.

Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest airline, and Rewe, the retail and tourism group both said yesterday that bookings to Greece were around 30 percent below that of last year.

Rewe Tourism chief Norbert Fiebig said Germans were instead choosing to travel to other places like Turkey, echoing comments from Thomas Cook Germany, which has said Spain is also proving a popular alternative.

Tourism is a vital source of income for Greece, accounting for about a fifth of gross domestic product. “Greece is doing very badly, just like North Africa,” Air Berlin Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn said.
Groups like TUI AG and Thomas Cook’s Germany-based airline Condor have already said offers and discounts to try to stem the fall in bookings. Reports of animosity towards Germans over the hard austerity measures demanded by Chancellor Angela Merkel in return for bailouts, as well as fears of strikes, are keeping the world’s biggest spenders on foreign holidays away from Greece.

May/23/2012

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