Tui extends Greece and Turkey season to November

Holidaymakers are now planning their trips later in the year
Holidaymakers are now planning their trips later in the year

Tui, the tour operator, has extended its season for Greece and Turkey until mid-November after heatwave Cerberus disrupted holidaymakers’ plans over the summer.

Wildfires and temperatures of 45C in July forced scores of tourists to abandon their holidays in Rhodes and Athens as well as in other parts of southern Europe.

Holidaymakers are now planning their trips later in the year, with rising global temperatures allowing for sunshine holidays in Europe after the summer season.

Tui said demand for this October is eight per cent higher than last year. The holiday provider typically ceased to offer Greek and Turkish holidays in October.

Winter bookings generally for Tui have risen 15 per cent from last year, despite a four per cent increase in prices.

Sebastian Ebel, the operator’s chief executive, confirmed around 30,000 seats had been added for destinations including Rhodes, Crete and Antalya up to mid-November.

He said: “We have seen strong demand in the final weeks of the summer season, which traditionally runs to the end of October.

“As a consequence, we recently announced the extension of the season into November in particular to Turkey and Greece, to cover demand outside the traditional summer season.”

Cooler regions including Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands will also become more popular for tourists as global warming continues, Mr Ebel added.

The average temperature in November for Ankara, Turkey’s capital, is expected to be around 14C during the day, while Athens usually reaches 18C.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents, which represents tour operators, said: “There has been a growing trend since the pandemic for people travelling outside the peak holiday period.

“There are lots of destinations where you can visit for most of the year and still enjoy sunshine and warm weather. And if you’re travelling out of the main summer weeks, they tend to be great value too.

“We’ve also seen more people are looking for a winter-sun break; swapping rain and cold with sandy beaches.”

In July, Greek officials closed off popular archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, to “protect visitors from the sun” when temperatures soared to 45C.

Elsewhere, eight cities in Italy, including Florence, Bologna, Rome and Rieti were placed on red weather alerts.

The scorching temperatures across Europe meant  the UK became a desirable tourist destination for US visitors.

Rob Russell, CEO of inbound travel specialist AC Group, said at the time: “We are seeing a lot of unusual late demand from American travellers for the UK and Ireland in the last 10 days and I do believe that this could potentially be as a result of the press coverage of the wildfires and heat in the Mediterranean.”

Wildfires also spelled chaos for hundreds of British tourists holidaying in Rhodes, with one comparing the scene to that of Dunkirk.

While the cause of the blazes has been attributed to arson, climate scientists say the heatwaves meant the fires spread faster and burnt over larger areas.

An average of 50 wildfires broke out daily for 12 consecutive days in July, with 64 recorded in one weekend.