Greek tourism officials have come under fire for failing to respond to a 20% fall in bookings from the UK.
Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa told press at a media briefing yesterday that Greece was one of the countries suffering the most from the weak pound, which is now down to one to one against the euro.
But he said its tourism chiefs have not responded properly.
-¬---The Greek Tourism Minister has been pretty hopeless,-¬~ he said. -¬---The guy is under pressure, but to come to World Travel Market for three days and to be too busy to meet with the UK travel industry is outrageous.-¬~
He said Spain is also being badly hit as the euro strengthens against the pound, but he praised Spanish tourism officials for their efforts to boost visitor numbers.
Fontenla-Novoa said although the pound was weakening against the euro, the operator hoped to secure better deals with hoteliers in Spain and other euro zone countries in order to keep holiday prices down.
-¬---We are going to hoteliers and saying we need to pass on some of the pain,-¬~ he said.
-¬---The Spanish market is in even worse shape than the UK and demand for beds is waning. There are opportunities for us to get better prices."
Fontenla-Novoa said UK bookings to Turkey were up 20% as customers turn to non-euro countries.
He said the all-inclusive sector was also doing well, as customers look at ways of budgeting more effectively.
He said a 25% capacity cut overall in the UK market was about right.
-¬---I don-¬™t think any more capacity will come out and prices can-¬™t go up any more,-¬~ he said.
By Bev Fearis
Wednesday, December 17, 2008