Belfast Telegraph

£139 for a week in Greece - that's what Northern Ireland holidaymakers have been paying

By Claire McNeilly

Northern Ireland holidaymakers hoping for a last-minute bargain should look no further than Greece.

Just recently, local travel agents were selling seven-day trips to the troubled eurozone country for as little as £139.

The good news is there are still some fabulous deals for travellers looking for cheap getaways, or luxurious breaks at knock-down prices, over the coming weeks.

Fears over queues at cash points, banking and security are putting many people off travelling to the country, which is why it has become one of the most affordable holiday destinations this summer.

Yet, despite concerns, holidaymakers on the ground have suggested that it is business as usual in the Greek resorts, with bars, shops and restaurants adequately supplied and open as usual.

Andrew Adair from Reliable Travel in Belfast city centre said super deals were being snapped up a couple of days before the departure date.

"At the end of last month we were selling a week in Greece with flights, transfers and accommodation in self-catering apartments for £139 per person," he said.

"Prices are changing on a daily basis depending on sales, so consumers can pick up great bargains.

"Demand for holidays in Greece and the Greek islands has been steady and we've had a number of people jumping at the chance to get a last-minute deal.

"It's one of the most economical destinations this summer compared to Menorca or The Canaries, for example, where you would pay around £400 for a comparable holiday."

Among the offers open to Reliable Travel customers is a week in Corfu for £289pp. That includes flights, transfers and self-catering accommodation, departing on July 20.

Around the same time, there are similar deals in Rhodes or Crete for £305 and £308 respectively.

Meanwhile, flights, transfers and a stint in the upmarket four-star Semiramis Hotel in Hersonissos in Crete costs £467pp.

Elsewhere yesterday, Laffin Travel on North Street was offering a week self-catering in Corfu for £349 and Crete for £319, both leaving next week from Belfast.

Last Sunday Greece overwhelmingly rejected Europe's latest bailout package, plunging the country's future in the eurozone into jeopardy.

The nation remains in crisis as the banks stay closed and the world will be watching developments closely over the coming days, as speculation grows over a so-called 'Grexit'.

This uncertainty has had an impact and Mark Davidson from Lisburn's Oasis Travel said sales had been "sluggish".

"Unless they've already booked, people have been put off travelling to Greece because they're worried about taking lots of cash," he said.

"We've got some great offers at the minute and holidaymakers can certainly get value for money.

"One of our exclusives is a week half-board in Rhodes in a super five-star hotel including flights and transfers for £499pp, departing August and September."

Northern Ireland spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Doreen McKenzie said there were no limits on cash withdrawals for tourists using cards at automatic bank machines, while credit and debit cards are being accepted as normal in shops and restaurants.

But she added: "There are mixed reports on availability of cash from ATMs and we advise holidaymakers to take enough euros in cash to cover all of their needs."

Mrs McKenzie said holidaymakers should check how much cash their travel insurance policy covers them for and take appropriate security precautions against theft, such as using hotel safes.

... that's what local holidaymakers have been paying for a week in Greece

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