Greek wildfires ‘putting tourism recovery in jeopardy’

Tourism recovery in Greece could be at risk due to devastating wildfires in parts of the country.

Efforts to extend the Greek summer season into October with a 15% rise in airline capacity over 2019 levels and a reduction in hotel rates could be jeopardised, according to data analyst firm Mabrian.

Carlos Cendra, sales and marketing director of the Spanish company, said: “This historic recovery might be at risk because of the Greek fires.

“Since this natural disaster hit the headlines on July 22, we’ve noticed that the number of searches from international source markets – especially the UK and Germany – to visit Greek destinations for the month of October has been impacted.

More: Greece prepares to toughen restriction on holiday islands

Greece ‘most recovered’ European destination this summer

“Firstly, with a temporary descent of 11% after July 22 that then recovered, and then again when the first deaths were announced on August 6 there was a drop of 23% in average daily searches that lasted  five days – in both cases this being the average for all source markets combined.

“That impact will have put at risk some of the 3.72 million air seats available for October, with 14.3 % of those coming from the UK and 18,5% from Germany, followed by Italy and France with 6.7% and 4% respectively.

He added: “At a time when British travellers – based on our research – are actually showing more favourable reviews of their domestic tourism experiences, clearly this could be a big threat to the Greek recovery and hopes for a shoulder season boom.

“So if another fire breaks out, existing ones worsen, the death toll rises or simply international media decide to focus on this story during the typically ‘quiet’ news weeks of August, this could again see further impact on the destination.

“Given that there are vast areas of Greece that are completely unaffected by the fires our strong recommendation to those destinations would be to communicate hard the safety of the destination via marketing and communications campaigns.”

Meanwhile, wildfires forced thousands of people, including at least 2,000 holidaymakers, to be evacuated on Tuesday from south-east France, including several villages surrounding Saint-Tropez.

More: Greece prepares to toughen restriction on holiday islands

Greece ‘most recovered’ European destination this summer

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