After the ‘victory for all Europe’ – how about some sailing?
I’m writing this an hour after agreement has been reached on forming a coalition government here in Greece. Sunday’s election result pulled the country back from what many foreign journalists predicted would be a Greek exit from the eurozone. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the winning New Democracy party hailed the result as a ‘victory for all Europe’.
He will now be sworn in as Prime Minister after a coalition agreement with two minority partners that support Greece’s bailout commitments. There is still some way to go before Greece manages to find solutions to the problems in this country but at least there is some stability in the near future.
Almost every business in Greece has suffered as a result of the uncertainty and we at Aegean Sailing school are no exception.
I checked a few days ago and our bookings for mid-summer are down about 40% from the past two years. By the end of June we are normally almost full for most of the summer but this year we still have availability on many weeks. Most schools and charter companies that we know of are in the same position. The crisis has been not so good for us but …
It’s good news for you if you want to sail in Greece this year!
- With visitor numbers down it is likely that harbours will be pleasantly uncrowded. The Saronic, where we sail, is normally less busy than the Ionian and this year we expect there to be plenty of room to moor at night.
- Instead of turning away late bookings this year we still have space for most weeks, even in July and August. So if you haven’t got your summer sailing holiday organised there is still time.
- If you are among our UK customers the exchange rate is more favourable than it has been for several years.
- The normal warm Greek welcome will be warmer than ever as the country really needs tourists. Taverna and shop owners will be pleased to see you .. and will offer you bargains!
- We also have some bargains on offer as we fill spaces in our bookings – see below for June and July special offers and watch our site for further offers in August.
SPECIAL OFFERS FOR COURSES STARTING 24 JUNE, 1, 8, OR 15 JULY
Group course places @ 600€ / £500 single occupancy or 400€ / £334 each for 2 sharing a cabin.
Private courses for up to 4 people on 40 yacht @ 2820€ / £2350 total
Private courses for up to 5 people on 44 yacht @ 3240€ / £2700 total (not available 24 June)
All prices include accommodation on board, all yacht expenses, instruction, RYA course books and certificates, linen and towels (please bring your own swim towels), and food for breakfasts & lunches.
They don’t include getting to us or evening meals ashore. You should budget for around 20€ per person per night for a meal with some wine.
HOW TO BOOK
Our special offers normally get snapped up very quickly and, now that the crisis here has eased, these places are likely to go soon. To book a place please email firstname.lastname@example.org I can hold places for you for a couple of days while you make your travel arrangements.
BUT IS IT OKAY TO VISIT GREECE AT THE MOMENT?
I had lunch with a former colleague a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband were on a week’s holiday in Athens from Scotland. She told me that, when she told friends they were going to Greece on holiday, they asked her if she was crazy! We were sitting in a taverna by the harbour at the time. The sun was shining, the sea was blue, the tables were full of Greeks and holidaymakers enjoying their meal and the view. Her husband looked around in amazement – this wasn’t the picture of Greece that the British media had been presenting.
It is absolutely true that there is a lot of hardship in this country at present. As always, the poorest and most vulnerable in society are suffering the most. There are homeless people on the streets and many soup kitchens operating in some parts of Athens. It is extremely difficult for young people to find work and unemployment is high. You will find closed and boarded up shops on most streets, apart from the main tourist drags.
But life for most of us here carries on. We’re not queuing for food or sleeping on the street!
People tighten their belts. They replace their big cars with smaller ones, they may try to sell their family holiday homes on islands, they go out less and entertain at home more. Unless you specifically look for signs of the crisis it will not be obvious to you, especially on the islands. The welcome and the weather will be as warm as ever. So come to Greece – she badly needs your support!