Destinations reassure holidaymakers about impact of drought

Mediterranean destinations in southern Europe have reassured the trade that holidays are continuing as normal despite drought conditions and wildfires across the continent.

And travel agents say that reports about the extreme temperatures have not had much impact on bookings to the region – although some would-be late bookers may be happy to stay in the UK because of hot weather at home.

However, river cruise specialists say cancellations and amendments caused by low river levels in Europe are having an impact on consumer confidence in their sector and adding to administrative workloads.

Eleni Skarveli, UK & Ireland director of the Greek National Tourist Office, said the country is used to drought conditions during the summer, adding: “There is no need to worry.

“Greece is actually facing one of the best weather seasons with mild heat and low humidity.

“The heatwave weather in the UK might feel like Greece but it is not in reality as the humidity is much lower.”

Nana Asmeni Pavlou, officer for the Larnaka Tourist Board, said: “This year is no hotter than the seasonal average. Guests will certainly not find water restrictions or problems with air conditioning.”

Chris Rowles, chairman of Aito, The Specialist Travel Association, lives in France six months of the year and said there are some restrictions on barbecues and warnings about fireworks and rubbish in the countryside.

“I don’t think the situation in Europe is really any different from what they are advising in the UK. It certainly should not put anyone off travelling,” he commented.

Gemma Antrobus, chair of Aito Specialist Travel Agents, added: “We haven’t had any clients mention this to us. We might be the wrong market though, with most clients staying in hotels and resorts, which would ensure their guests were well briefed on any local issues.”

Gary Gillespie, managing director at Independent Travel Experts – part of The Travel Network Group – said: “Feedback from our ITE members is that there is no general noise about droughts impacting customers’ booked holidays.

“A small number of customers whose holidays were booked in areas currently affected by wildfires have enquired about changing their holidays to later in the year.

“Other customers are asking their travel agent to check that their accommodation definitely has air conditioning.

“The hot weather in the UK has an impact on customers thinking about booking a holiday abroad and we are seeing more bookings made for summer 2023, rather than last minute bookings for this summer.”

Kelly Cookes, Advantage Travel Partnership chief commercial officer, said: “Droughts and extreme temperatures are always a concern but at the moment there has been minimal advice to customers from tour operators on any impacts to their booking.

“They are not impacting what is being booked for departures in the next few weeks. As always with anything that can impact plans, we will continue to keep a close eye on this.”

An Abta spokesperson also said there were no reports of holidaymakers being affected by the droughts, and commented: “If you’re going on holiday, it is more pleasant to be at a beach resort as most hotels have air conditioning. We’d advise common sense, do what the locals do and stay out of the sun from noon to 3pm.”

Picture of Finikoudes beach, Larnaka, Cyprus, by Ryzhkov Oleksandr/Shutterstock

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