Greek tourism agencies offer discounts to Turks

Greek tourism agencies offer discounts to Turks

Sevgi Sayar Başaran ISTANBUL/Radikal
Greek tourism agencies offer discounts to Turks

This photo shows a beach on the Greek island of Mykonos, which is a popular summer destination spot for holidaymakers like the ones that Greece hopes to attract.

Turkey’s debt-ridden western neighbor Greece, which is on the brink of national bankruptcy, has hopes to prop up its tourism sector regarding the Turkish market.

Greek travel agencies and hotels have been frequenting their Turkish counterparts in the last months as the Greek tourism firms have undercut their average prices by 50 to 70 percent.

The price cut has resulted in the Turkish tour operators including Greece and its reputed leisurely islands in their destination lists.

The travel and holiday programs carved out for Turkish holidaymakers are very appealing in prices. It is now possible for Turks to have a weekend holiday for only 99 euros. The prices vary between 300 and 400 euros when it comes to a week-long holiday at a five star hotel.

The East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (EMITT), which was held last week, also revealed the Greek tourism firms’ interest in Turkey.

The booths of local tour operators were filled with many more Greek hotels and travel agencies than they have witnessed before at EMITT, ranked as the fifth largest tourism exhibition in the world.

A weekend holiday for 99 euros
Noting that Greek hoteliers have offered very special prices for the Turkish tour operators, Cem Polatoğlu, the chairman of Baracuda Tur, said “We have prepared tours toward Thasos Island and Chalkidiki region of Greece. The prices for a weekend of two days and three nights at a four star hotel will be at 99 euros. Before, you had to be willing to pay at least 400 to 500 euros.”

The domestic tourist could not take a holiday in Şile, a district of Istanbul on the Asian side by the Black Sea, for the same price, Polatoğlu added.

Tolga Tekin, manager of the foreign tours at Jolly Tur, said they have been organizing tours for the Greek islands, too.

“We plan to take 7,500 people to Greece and its islands in 2012. That is a 100 percent increase from the last year. The average prices for Greece and its islands are to vary between 300 and 400 euros. The prices are for a proper hotel and include transportation,” Tekin said, adding that this year the cost of taking a holiday for a week in the Greek islands will be lower than Antalya.

On the other hand, many “deal-of-the-day” websites offer very reasonable prices of tours to Greece as well as established travel agencies and operators.

A two-day holiday with a night stay in the Greek cities of Thessaloniki (Selanik), Kavala, Xanthi (İskeçe), Alexandroupoli (Dedeağaç) and Komotini (Gümülcine) were put up for sale for 69.9 liras per person.