Luxury Bookings Holding Steady in Battered Greek Market

Jul 03, 2012, 14:00 ET from Luxury Retreats

MONTREAL, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The year over year demand for Greek villa rentals is holding steady, says the international home rental specialist Luxury Retreats.

"It's business as usual for us in terms of reservations at popular destinations like Santorini and Crete," says Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin.

Despite reports of a 15% first quarter drop in tourism revenue by the Bank of Greece, the number of reservations at the company's 94 Greek island villas actually increased by 10% YOY for January-April 2012, thanks in part to the efforts of local travel partners.

"On the islands, the importance of tourism to the local economy and jobs cannot be overstated.  Our travel partners in Greece remain committed to providing a premium vacation experience for each and every one of our guests," says Poulin.

In a country where tourism represents 16.5% of the GDP, this view is echoed by officials such as Dr. Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

"We want to encourage international tourism and assure potential tourists that there has never been a better time to come to our country. We are trying to change the way our country and its economy is run, however, this is not going to affect the quality of a holiday," Andreadis recently commented.

While the number of luxury villa bookings has remained unchanged, guests do seem to be taking greater care with their villa selections, Poulin revealed.

"Where we have noticed an impact is in our average Greek booking value. Our most popular villa in Greece this year is among our most affordably priced," says Poulin.

In fact the average price of a Luxury Retreats booking in Greece dropped by over 37% from $13,251 in January-April 2011 to $8,309 for the same period in 2012.

The true test will be Greece's peak summer season from July to September, a period which represented 54% of the country's international tourist arrivals in 2011.

Following the June election, a deal was reached between three Greek political parties to form a new coalition government. It remains to be seen what impact these election results will have on tourism.

"We will be watching our last-minute bookings closely over the next few weeks," says Poulin. "Last-minute travel represents an important segment of our summer business so these latest developments may have a favorable impact."

Luxury Retreats is an elite villa advisor offering over 2,000 private villas for short-term vacation rental.
In addition to luxury rentals, since its founding in 1999 the company has grown to offer elite concierge services, real estate expertise as well as property management.

SOURCE Luxury Retreats