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Cretan agents report booking drop

Cretan travel agencies predict tourist traffic to the island this year will drop by…

Cretan travel agencies predict tourist traffic to the island this year will drop by 10 percent while it could drop even further next year.Cretan travel agents association chairman Manolis Papakaliatis said tour operators are levelling pressure on members for a freezing, and even reduction of rates.

He said 1999 was an excellent year not only for Crete`s tourism sector but Greece as a whole, particularly in light of mass cancellations last year by travellers planning to visit Turkey. Many opted for Crete<.>, Papakaliatis noted, but this year it seems Turkey has made a comeback and is already reporting high bookings. As a result, Crete has seen a fall in bookings, he said.

`The message for next year is not positive either, he said. `Agreements with tour operators are being signed as of now, and it appears there will be a decrease in arrivals in 2001. Unfortunately, this is the reality and we must all deal with it in a responsible and serious manner.`

Papakaliatis said competition between tour operators had reached the point of being uncontrollable but that the consumer wins out in the end, paying a great deal less for their holidays. He said he hoped the fall in bookings was a temporary phenomenon.

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