|FIVE MINUTES WITH SKYWAY TOURS LIMITED|
There is simply no denying that a dark economic cloud currently looms large across Europe - Greece in particular. Due to the continent’s economic uncertainty, many Canadian travellers have been hesitant to book Europe vacations.
|Aris Sideratos & Danny Nessinis, owners, Skyway Tours Limited
For tour operators specializing in Europe product, such as Toronto’s Skyway Tours Limited, this hesitation from the Canadian travellers to travel to Europe is evidently cause for concern.
TRAVELHotNews.com recently sat down with Skyway Tours Limited owner Aris Sideratos at the tour operator’s office on the Danforth, in order to discuss the three-plus-decade old company, Canadian apprehension towards Europe travel, engaging young travellers and Skyway’s place in Toronto’s Greek community.
Tell us a little bit about Skyway Tours Limited.
We’ve been in business for the past, 36 - 37 years, in the same location, predominantly working in the Greek market, which has been very good up to now. These couple of years we have slowed down a bit in terms of sales because of the events happening across the pond. We do quite a bit of leisure, and some corporate.
Our big market is Europe in the summer, starting in January and going strong until July, August, September; then we slow down a bit.
Considering the current economic crisis, should travellers have concerns about travelling to Greece, or Europe in general?
None whatsoever. Whatever we read in the newspaper, particularly about Greece, we tend to think that it’s a dangerous country. Not a chance. The travellers that go over there have no problems. They are taken care of. The Greeks love the tourism. They depend on tourism.
But, Canadian society is a bit concerned with Europe. It’s not only Greece. And of course the rates reflect that concern. They are coming down a lot.
What is your main source of clientele?
We are quite well known in the Greek community... Our clientele is a bit diversified. There’s a bit of older clientele, and there is a younger clientele. The problem we can sometimes have is the young Greek clientele, who are very good travellers, but sometimes they just don't call us.
The youth think that because they are fluent with computers they can get deals that we cannot get. But that is not true. We can get great deals with anybody.
We can compete with [the online travel companies] and the wholesales groups because we have the same deals. We are a Transat associate so we get the deals that Transat has, which are very attractive.
What would you consider to be Skyway Tours Limited’s speciality?
We have a lot of expertise. Danny and me have been together for the past 25 years.
We’re extremely honest. We are concerned for our customers. We will never cheat a customer. We just don’t do it. It is not our policy. If a couple seats open at a lower cost a few days before the flight, we say: “Look, I got good news. We’ve got a lower price for you.”
We do that constantly. [We get] a lot of repeat customers. In this area (Greektown) we are very well known.
Have you noticed any trends for the rest of 2012 and into 2013?
We sincerely hope that things are going to pick-up again with Europe, and we think that 2013 will be a good year. Not just for Greece, but for all of Europe.
For more information visit skywaytours.com