Although this Christmas is shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mood of the people who lived in lockdown last year at such a time, is to travel and enjoy the holidays.
Hotels and hostels have put on their festive attire waiting to welcome guests.
It is noteworthy that in some areas, fullness has already skyrocketed.
As in Ioannina, where, as the Deputy Mayor of Tourism, George Lolis, said “the fullness for the Christmas period is already close to 80%” and in fact with “minimal cancellations, which are immediately replaced.”
Ioannina has been following an upward tourist trend lately, which according to Lolis is due to the multiculturalism of the city, since the elements of coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews are alive in every corner.
At the same time, as he stressed, in the area there are hotels for every budget, among which “there are very good 5-star hotels and boutiques”, which have obviously raised the level of services provided.
Visitors can be guided to museums, caves, archaeological sites and of course the island of Ioannina, but also to walk enjoying the route to the famous lake of the city.
“Rain” of reservations in Zagorochoria as well
A few kilometres away in Zagorochoria, the reservations for Christmas and New Year is high.
“For Christmas and New Year, I believe that the occupancy of hotels and hostels in the area will reach 100%,” the deputy mayor of Tourism of the Municipality of Zagori, Ioannis Tsaparis, said.
The area is ready to receive waves of tourists, although there is still the fear that something will happen with the pandemic and eventually people will not travel.
“Businessmen in the area have these fears and reservations, however, they have all taken steps to be okay with their customers and to be protected against the coronavirus,” Tsaparis said, adding that there were concerns about the unvaccinated. .
“There are many unvaccinated people who want to come. And that is an issue.
“What I do know is that hoteliers and shopkeepers do not accept them indoors. There is this issue.
“After the tremendous traffic we had on October 28, the result was seen a couple of weeks later,” he said.
According to the deputy mayor, Zagorochoria is an attraction because of its beauty and natural landscape.
“It is chosen by people who go hiking, that is, they look for routes and paths, people who want to get closer to nature,” he said.
“There are also families who come who want to have a good time in a picturesque area.
“Our area also has an awesome architecture that leaves no visitor unmoved – it is one of the few parts of Greece that keeps the colour of traditional architectural construction.
“Visitors who come will see many stone-built bridges, stone-built cobbled streets, traditional shops with various products, etc.”
50% bookings in Pieria
The mountain range of Pieria, which also has a ski center, is another favourite to visit over Christmas and easily accessible by road.
The president of the Pieria hoteliers, Iraklis Tsitlakidis, said that at present the occupancy of hotels and hostels in the area is around 50%.
“Reservations are around 50%.
“There are also reservations without advances, which means that depending on the epidemiological picture of both the region and the country and how the transfers will be made, the reservations can be zeroed.
“After all, at the moment we are only talking about Christmas, only for 2-3 days, and this for the businesses of the mountain area with increased operating costs, cannot be salvation.”
The prices in the region may vary depending on the category of hotel and hostel, starting, as Tsitlakidou explained, 40-50 euros per night, but “can be as high as 200 euros.”
For Tsitlakidis “the accommodation, the food, the entertainment and the transportation, that is, the whole package for Pieria as a whole, “is in a very fair evaluation for the visitor”.
“It is very easy to visit, we are at a crossroads of transportation and our mountainous area has a very good road network,” he concluded.
Minimum reservations in Arachova tou Vorras
In the old Agios Athanasios, which is only 10 kilometres away from the ski centre of Vora or Kaimaktsalan and has been characterised as the “Arachova of the North”, the traffic is still low.
Nikos Kountouridia owns two hotel units in the village.
One reason for the low booking rate over the Christmas period is because the pandemic is resulting in “people moving at the last minute”, according to Kountouridia.
In any case, his hotels are ready and operate in compliance with all sanitary protocols.