Greek woes not reflected in dynamic packaging sector, claim suppliers

Suppliers to the digital travel sector have dismissed concerns raised by traditional trade bodies Abta and Aito about the UK holiday market to Greece saying business for them is up.

Travolution sister website Travel Weekly revealed this morning details of a letter sent to the Greek Prime Minister by Aito and Abta appealing for his government to  match promotional spending of UK operators.

It issued the stark warning that Greece had to act now and could not wait three months with bookings through UK tour operators dwindling amid the negative publicity associated with public disturbances due to austerity measures being imposed.

The joint Abta Aito letter warned operators would have to reduce capacity in order to survive if the situation was not dealt with as a matter of urgency.

However, suppliers outside of the traditional tour operator sector, say they are seeing a different picture with increased lowcost air capacity and good deals from hoteliers.

Bill Allan, accommodation division managing director of On Holiday Group, said: “We aren’t suffering like they claim. I think the dynamic packaging market is actually doing quite nicely to Greece for this summer.

“There is more low cost capacity and hoteliers have been very sensitive to the market and kept rates competitive and given early booking discounts to drive volume. I know generally that the stronger Greek dynamic packaging players are up.”

Matthew Stuart, managing director of Getabed, said bookings were also up, although the bed supplier has only recently expanded into beach product and was coming from a low base.

He dismissed concerns that Greece was in terminal decline saying he expected it to end this year flat against 2011 and that the financial crisis would speed up the move away from traditional operators.

“Consumers want flexibility, that’s why they and travel agents are dynamic packaging. I’m not really surprised to hear traditional operators are struggling. In many areas hoteliers are looking for more flexible forms of distribution.

“Lowcost carriers know more people are looking to dynamic package and build their own holidays in different ways and we are part of that process.”

Stuart said Greece was probably going to have to take some short-term pain by finding resources to promote the destination if it is going to see a long-term gain.

“I think there are going to be plenty of deals for Greece. It’s going to be a big lates market along with other destinations that are discounting. Greece is a mature market and it’s an attractive proposition for holidaymakers – it’s not going to drop off a cliff.”

Paul Riches, director of Sales at Lowcost Travel Group, said: “Our sales to Greece this summer have been down on same period last year, due to issues that have been well documented.

“However, we are seeing improvements recently and Greece historically sells late anyway. If capacity is taken out then Greece will obviously suffer in the lates market.”

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