Package Tours to Greece – too cheap to believe?
Right now, Europe is going through difficult financial times. Greece, Italy, and Portugal are in desperate financial shape. Shops are closed, businesses that have been able to stay open have reduced hours and staff. Because of this monetary instability, tourism is on the decline.
The perception that travelers have about these countries (and Greece in particular) is that it is not a desirable destination. We have a relative that has lived in Greece for several years. She notes that yes, life is more difficult for the Greek people, but tourism and daily life continues. She has encouraged friends and family members to visit Greece, because it is an incredible country with so much to offer.
Unfortunately, some tour operators are selling last minute packages at a loss to attract visitors and fill up empty spots. In a recent article from Sunvil, author Noel Josephides notes that some package tours are operating at £300 pound loss per customer per week. I was stunned to read of this. These actions are impacting tourism in Greece in a variety of ways.
The problem with selling things at a loss is:
- It isn’t sustainable
- The vendor, at some point, is not going to provide the same level of service as he would if he was making a profit
- The customer feels that they are not getting the same level of service
- It sets a level of unrealistic expectations on other tour operators
- The whole economic structure starts to fall apart
- Tourism eventually declines
Back in the early 2000s, auto manufacturers were heavily discounting their cars – sometimes at a loss. When it was time for them to start to make a profit, no one was buying the cars, because they were used to paying such a low price for them. The result? The US almost lost their auto industry because no one was buying cars. The bad decisions snowballed, and the automobile market tanked.
While we empathize with tour operators that are losing money on empty contracts, this short term solution can and will cause long term damage to the Greek tourist industry. The old adage, “You get what you pay for," rings true here. By purchasing these deeply discounted packages, tourists are contributing to the downward economic spiral. It isn’t ethical to take advantage of their desperation just so you can save a little bit of money. Support ethical tour operators that are providing excellent value for a fair price. This is the best thing that you can do, to help countries in the economic doldrums pull out, and bring the tourism industry back from the brink. Greece has played such a large part in human history, that to prevent Greece’s collapse - and encourage their recovery - is our social responsibility.
Read other posts by Ed Forteau