Olympic Holidays has reported large hikes in sales of Greece holidays for summer 2017, with passenger numbers for the island of Kos more than double last year.
The number of passengers booked by the tour operator since the start of December for Kos are more than 100% up on the same period a year earlier. Similarly, for the period from April last year to date on the previous year shows Kos passenger numbers up 175%.
The figures suggest the Greek islands are continuing to recover strongly from the impact of the migrant crisis, which reached its peak in the summer of 2015 and affected tourism to islands including Kos.
Olympic Holidays marketing director Carl Catterall said: “The season last year got off to a slow start for the Greek islands because they were still in the news. Kos started off slowly but ended up being strong, and now it is massively up. We are significantly up on 2015.”
Other Greek islands in the operator’s portfolio are also showing strong sales. Zante sales through travel agents since the start of December are 64% up year on year while Rhodes is up 35%.
“Normally when you see numbers like this, it’s on low numbers but this increase is on high numbers,” added Catterall.
He put part of the reason for the big increases down to the operator’s repositioning in the last 18 months to work more closely and proactively with the trade.
It has revamped its branding and website, and developed more coordinated online and offline marketing materials for agents. The operator has also pledged not to surcharge “no matter what happens to fuel or exchange rates” and offers price parity to ensure direct clients do not get cheaper deals than agents.
Olympic has also broadened its product offering, with the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily offered for 2017.
Already it is seeing the results of a more focused trade strategy, said Catterall, with agency sales up year on year for the last eight months by 42.3%. Trade sales from the start of December to this week compared with the same period the year before are up 36%.
Catterall added: “We are recognising that agents are doing more high-end sales for us and we have become more focused on who we are and what we offer. At the moment we have some of the best early booking offers that we have ever had so I think the time to book is right now.”