Have you ever been to an All-Inclusive (A-I) resort? I know we don’t like to admit it, but if you have kids and particularly if you are one of the few working people who can afford to have kids, A-I's are a good way of limiting the casual expenditure of an overseas and even home-based holiday.
I have never fully understood the economic theory behind this burgeoning hotel business. I think I accept the notion that it is a good way to attract custom, but what foxes me is the hotels’ almost demonic need to keep guests corralled within their confines.
Here in Crete, even in summer, tourists are hardly seen. However, we are told there are vast amounts of holidaymakers here. Obviously, the hotels are succeeding in keeping them in, restrained by a constant supply of food and drink.
A friend of mine went around nearby A-I’s to ask if she could put up notices to tempt guests to her local Mexican speciality restaurant. Out of eight hotels she visited, not one was interested. ‘Why do they want to keep people in?’ she moaned, ‘the more they stay there, the more they consume and the more it costs the hotels.’ I confess I do not see the logic of it, but it was the last throw of the dice for her; she had almost no customers and weeks later, packed up and returned to the UK.
She told me before she left, that the councils had tried to make A-I’s within two kilometres of other facilities illegal, but they never seemed to be able to pass the bye-laws. I wonder why? Could it be vested interests? We’ve all heard about these and money does talk, doesn’t it?
I hear now that the victor in the recent Greek elections, but sadly not the victor in the Battle of Brussels, one Alexis Tsipras of Syriza, the ultra-left, anti-capitalist hero of the moment (moments are short here in Greece) has proposed an outright ban on the All-Inclusive. Of course his ban will only be applicable to Greece, so devotees of the A-I will take their trade to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco leaving Greek resorts, beaches and tavernas even more empty than they are now, yet throwing thousands of A-I hotel workers on the jobless pile for no gain at all.
Of course, the global backers of the All-Inclusive will deliver their closure slap to Mr Tsipras’ policies before returning when they are ready to repopulate the empty hotels, probably with EU grants. What dear naïve Mr Tsipras forgets is that these people have been making a small fortune out of the hospitality business and a minor hiccough like Syriza will not stand in the way of their daytime job of making profits nor their night-time job of unbridled tax evasion.
As I mentioned in another post where a would-be leading European politician had his sights set on the foundations of the hospitality industry, failure is easily achievable.
I include a picture of a Cretan resort devoid of tourists but with the looming replacements for A-I’s already chalked up. Alexis will have to spend the next four years attacking and trying to close each of them. Now two things must be evident, firstly he has to remain in power long enough to work his way down the list and more importantly…does he really not understand that the industry has another ten ‘****sives’ waiting in the wings, should he be nearing his goal?
The moral of the story? Do not argue with big business, Alexis. Take your lead from your EU colleagues, do what you are told and invite big business to Greek soil to open up examples of the following new-style resorts:
The industry champions have asked a sample poll of people which of the above services they might be interested in, so that a report may be sent to those that would invest others’ hard-earned cash in the new ventures. I have heard of only one question thus far, ‘Will they build a sixth departure building at Heathrow called ‘Terminal Illness’ for the outgoing All-Conclusives? Only one respondent has asked about returns.
However, a cautionary tale for the future; watch out when your son and heir tells you he’s bought you an all-conclusive holiday to the sunny Mediterranean.
Which of these glowing options would tempt you? Do you have some suggestions for others that the industry could consider?
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