THE response of the international money markets to the outcome of the Greek election was immediate: the euro – already in a long slide – dived to a seven-year low of €1.34 against the £, or €1 worth 74p/$1.12. It means lower prices on the ground for UK and US holidaymakers not only in Greece but also in every other Eurozone country.
But Noel Josephides, chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents and managing director of Greek specialists Sunvil Holidays points out that not all holidays in Greece might come at bargain rates.
“Tour operators are tied in when it comes to both currency and fuel, so booking late and independently could be cheaper,” he says. “But it’s difficult to tell and probably depends more on supply and demand. If the demand is high, hotel prices are unlikely to fall – and certainly not in honey-pot destinations such as Mykonos or Santorini.”
Will Greece leave the Eurozone (given that joining it in the first place was a catastrophic mistake)?
Says Nick Trend, travel consumer editor at The Daily Telegraph: ‘It would be a long, drawn-out process which would take months of political wrangling – therefore it’s highly unlikely before this summer.’
And if it did?
‘It should make holidays there cheaper, because a new drachma would be worth far less than the euro. Independent travellers would benefit most at first because they will be paying for accommodation in drachmas, as opposed to the prices in sterling offered by tour operators.
‘Some things – imports such as coffee, petrol and technology – would not be any cheaper. And the bad news is that the Greek hospitality industry does not have a strong track record when it comes to competitive pricing. When the euro was first introduced, prices went up disproportionately. If it were to leave, there is no guarantee that rates charged by hotels and restaurants will fully reflect the change in the value of the currency.’
Mr Trend suggests that because the new government will have a honeymoon period, political tension and strikes – “the bane of travel in Greece” – are probably less likely than they have been in the past three years.
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