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Travel deals to Greece

Experts said there were "crazy reductions" to be found.

Bob Atkinson, of Travelsupermarket.com, said: "Greece has some excellent prices at the moment, so if you want to book a last minute deal there are bargains to be had."

However, with European creditors appearing to reject Greece's last gasp bailout proposals on Sunday, holidaymakers were warned about the risk of pickpockets and strikes.

Damian Reilly, head of travel insurance for comparethemarket.com, said: "An unfortunate side effect of well-intentioned Foreign Office advice to take enough euros to cover your entire trip may be that thieves actually target holidaymakers more.

"Another issue to consider is disruption at Greece’s airports. Should the Government be unable to pay the wages of the public sector workers, there is a heightened risk that the travellers may be faced with cancelled flights."

Travel agents said the Greek islands posed less of a risk than the mainland due to the local population's reliance on a healthy tourist trade.

Estate agents have also said wealthy foreign investors have begun forming a queue to purchase cut price villas being sold by Greece's upper classes.

Holiday homes on the resort islands of Khalkidhiki and Syros have been put on the market for less than half their market value in the past.

“If a villa on the Greek island of Syros cost €1.6m a few years ago, it is now selling for just €800, 000, ” Isabelle Razi, the founder of the Greek estate agent IRM Aegean Estate said.

In a bid to lure tourists and investors a representative for Vintage Travel in Crete posted a video online last week showing a supermarket fully stocked with fruit, meat, vegetables, alcohol and toiletries.

The company is one of many to email customers with a list of last-minute offers, such as its £1, 200 reduction on a three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa set amid olive groves in Kafalonia and with a sea view, now £1, 350 for seven nights.

Packaged holidays are available at less than £200 in some cases. Thomson’s cheapest price online this weekend was £180 per person for one week in a three-star hotel in Thassos, flying from Gatwick next Sunday. The discount of £426 on the brochure price is equal to 70 per cent.

Independent tour operators are also cutting prices substantially. Sunvil Holidays is offering seven nights’ self-catering at the Ilaira Apartments in Chrani, South Peloponnese are available for £329 per person, including flights and transfers, for a family of four, again departing 19 July. The full price was £684 per person, so it is "effectively half price", the company said.

Oliver’s Travels, a luxury villa specialist, is offering 38 per cent off in Crete.

With bookings down 30 per cent, according to the Greek tourist board, some companies are extending concessions late into the summer - and even the autumn.

Villa Select said it had cut almost £1, 000 off some of properties still available for July in "a bid to encourage visitors to continue their support of Greece".

Holidayhypermarket.co.uk and Loveholidays.com had numerous three-star hotels in Rhodes, Rethymnon and Kos available in August and September at better than half price.

Western & Oriental is offering seven nights at the Blue Palace Resort & Spa in Crete for £925 per person for travel between September 21 and the end of October, a saving of £782 per couple. The package includes half-board accommodation and flights with Easyjet.

According to Skyscanner, interest from British customers has started to increase, while German bookings are still down heavily.

Travel website Opodo.de said Greece flight bookings from Germany, which had been tracking the levels of the previous year, suddenly dropped off after June 26, when talks broke down between Greece and its euro zone creditors.

Between June 27 and July 6, daily flight bookings were down most days by around 30-35 per cent on the previous year. One day showed a decrease of 68 percent, the company told Reuters.

Earlier this month, British holidaymakers in Greece were warned they would be unable to buy food or medicine within days if a deal was not reached to reopen the banks.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk
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