Operators say demand for the eastern Mediterranean “went through the roof” after the government tightened restrictions on travel to Spain.
Sunvil Holidays managing director Chris Wright said the Greece specialist saw “a significant upswing propelled [by] the Spanish quarantine”.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, he said demand began on the Monday and “carried on through the week”, while last weekend was “really the first weekend we’ve filled the flights that we’ve got operating”.
“Demand just went through the roof,” he added.
Wright said he was taking more bookings than ever from people who had not been to Greece before.
“They’re obviously Spanish diehards, so the questions they’re asking are very different,” he said.
“They’re trying to find comparable places, which is good for the sales team because they’re having to think of different ways of selling.”
Wright said Corfu had been “very strong” for those moving their holidays from Spain, and reported demand for Skiathos and Preveza.
Jet2holidays head of trade Alan Cross reported a spike in interest for Greece and Turkey “before we got the news about Spain”, and described subsequent demand as “a natural progression”.
Rival Tui also ramped up capacity for Greece and Turkey, adding seven flights across three days to meet “overwhelming demand” for holidays abroad this summer.
Cross added: “We were already looking at the opportunities for Turkey and Greece, like switching some aircraft out there, but [the] Spain [news] just propelled it on for us to make the decision that way.”
He said Dalaman was Jet2holidays’ top seller last week, Antalya second and Heraklion, in Crete, third.
Wright said many properties had had to scramble to open to meet the increased demand, with some “getting back up and running in the space of a few days” while “making sure they’re compliant with regulations”.
“It’s been quite interesting because, for a lot of properties, the [health and safety] requirements are quite stringent and they decided that, based on demand, they just decided that we’re going to mothball for this summer and a lot of those have turned around and changed that strategy,” he said.
“So we’ve been getting apartment blocks back up and running in the space of a few days and making sure they are compliant with the regulations. There’s definitely been a lot more accommodation having to come back online.”
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