Dying to see the Acropolis or check out one of those beautiful Greek islands with the blue-painted doors and seaside cafes? It appears to be a great time.
According to a story I spotted on travelmole, a study by the trip advisor folks out of the UK showed hotel prices in Greece have fallen as much as 20 per cent.
The company looked at nine popular Greek destinations and found that all but two (sadly, but expectedly, perhaps, two of the most popular spots for tourists) have seen hotel rates fall signficantly in the past year.
The biggest fall was in Corfu (see photo), where hotel rates have dropped on average by 20 per cent. Corfu is full of rich history and sights. I haven't been but here's what Frommer's has to say about the island on its web site: "Cast aside the Corfu package tour...and you will find Homer's 'rich and beautiful land' of hazy olive groves and rugged mountains, 20 miles off the west coast of Greece. The ouzo-fuelled revelry and beaches are there if you want them, but this island also has culture and poetic landscapes."
Rates in Zakynthos dropped 12.4 per cent, while rates in Athens dropped 7.9 per cent and prices in Crete - another lovely part of Greece - fell 7.7 per cent.
Prices, however, in Santorini were up 0.1 per cent and rates in Mykonos rose 0.7 per cent.
"While the Greek economy has experienced a traumatic year, the silver lining for tourism could be an increase in visitors due to the lower prices in many of its popular destinations," said Emma Shaw, a TripAdvisor spokesperson.
TROUBLE DOWN UNDER?
Another fascinating item I spotted on travelmole.com talks about tourism woes in Australia. The story says 10,000 fewer international visitors came to Australia in 2011 compared to the previous year, while the number of Australians travelling internationally surged to 7.8 million.
Australian Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee calls it "a seriously worrying trend."
"With the dollar likely to remain strong for some time and investment in new resorts in south-east Asia, many leisure tourism operators in Australia are facing an uncertain future," he said.
Lee said the same global economic conditions pushing up the Aussie dollar were affecting Australia's source markets.
"ncertainty in many of our traditional markets has seen declines in annual arrivals, including from the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada and the U.S."
I haven't seen any studies on the matter such as the tripadvisor one in Greece, but Qantas.com is advertising seats from Vancouver to several Australian destinations for $998. Be aware, however, that the site says there's a $500 fuel surcharge plus government fees of $70 to $200. Plus you'll have to make your way to Vancouver. so this is far from the deal of a lifetime.
Expedia.com today was showing a room at the Travelodge Sydney for $160 a night. Okay, it's not the Trump but it's not Joe's motor hotel, either. I found a room at the two-star Manly Beach house in lovely Manly Beach for just $138, and tons of decent-looking spots in the $200-$250 range. The Quest Potts Point, which is a great little hotel in a fabulous part of town, had one room left in mid-March for just $162.
AIR CANADA BOOSTS LONDON
Canadians have another option for getting to London Heathrow. Starting June 2, about seven or eight weeks prior to the start of the London Summer Olympics, Air Canada, Air Canada will boost its Toronto-Heathrow flights from four per day to five.
Even if you don't care about the Olympics, summer's a great time to visit London. Or you can hop off at Heathrow and connect to a RyanAir flight or another cheapo airline and get to just about anywhere you want in Europe for a song. Just don't take too much baggage or you'll get hit with expensive luggage fees.
THE NEIGH'S HAVE IT IN ATLANTIC CITY
A report out of New Jersey says things are so tough on the Atlantic City boardwalk that there's talk of bringing back diving horses.
Steel Pier, one of the Boardwalk's most storied landmarks, will become a year-round attraction as part of a $100 million makeover that will create new amusement rides and resurrect one famous older-style act - the diving horse, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
"The multiyear renovation project is being done by a new ownership group, including the Catanoso family that operated the pier under lease for 20 years and acclaimed Las Vegas architect Paul Steelman. The investors began exploring ways to revitalize the fading pier after buying it last August for $4.25 million from casino operator Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc." the paper said.
"We hope to make it a showplace again. We want to make it a major destination," said Anthony Catanoso, of Steel Pier Associates. "We're really excited about bringing back some of the old architecture and iconic features, along with new rides. We have what we believe is the perfect balance between the old and new."
Heaven help us all. USA Today reports that one newspaper reader suggested that instead of diving horses, they should have diving homeless people.
"It's a win win," said the reader. "The homeless and downtrodden, who have been residing under the pier for years make a little money and the tourist enjoy the $100,000,000 pier's show. And Bonus... No animal cruelty."
TRAVELALERTS/JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Here's a romantic getaway in time for Valentine's Day. With TravelAlerts/Jaunt.ca, you get a room at the Eganridge Inn in Fenelon Falls, Ontario for just $99. The deal includes one night's accomodation in a Terrace Room for two, featuring a king-sized bed, whirlpool tub and a fireplace. You also get complimentary continental breakfast for two and a 2 p.m. checkout in case you find something to do in your room after a romantic dinner....The deal is valid for stays up until April 30.
For more on this and other deals, go to www.jaunt.ca.
- 1 night’s accommodation in a Terrace Room for two, featuring a king-sized bed, whirlpool tub and fireplace
- Complimentary continental breakfast for two
- Late checkout until 2pm
- Eganridge is part of the Windsor Arms group
- Valid for stays until April 30, 2012