Latest Travel News & Updates
Thank you from everyone at Sunvil.
On 23 September we launched an appeal for donations of refugee aid which we would transport to Greece on our last flight of the season. Our aim was to collect three tonnes of essential items - tents, sleeping bags, clothing - to support the work of the Red Cross and local refugee support groups on the island of Samos. The appeal was led by our local representative Nina who has been working with the charities and has been very much involved in the efficient and unobtrusive handling of the refugee flow.
We were overwhelmed by the donations that we received and on the 1st October we flew 3.5 tonnes of aid (259 boxes and bags) to Samos. A further 1.5 tonnes of our aid was flown to the island a few days later. The aid has now been distributed to the Red Cross and local support groups and is making a difference to refugees arriving on the island with nothing.
Our Justgiving page which is raising funds to support the work of the Red Cross with refugees in Greece has raised over £3300.
So, 'thank you' from all of us at Sunvil in the UK and from our team overseas.
The appeal is now closed.
On 23 September, we launched a Just Giving crowdfunding page to raise much needed funds to support the work of the Red Cross in Greece.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends, colleagues and Sunvil clients. Over £300 has been raised in under 24 hours.
Thank you so much. Donations can be made here.
Read our story online.
At Sunvil we are urgently seeking donations which will be flown to Samos free of charge on our last charter flight of the season with Germania Airlines
We will carry up to three tonnes of aid to Samos, where it will be distributed in areas that have been affected by the crisis. We have been in consultation with the Red Cross and local refugee support groups regarding the sort of donations that are most urgently needed.
We are specifically appealing for tents, sleeping bags, gym mats or similar, warm jackets in all sizes and pac-a-macs. Other items, such as formula milk (pre-mixed boxes), nappies, blankets, soap, toothpaste and brushes, will not be turned away, but the aforementioned items are the most important.
Donations should be sent to our office in Old Isleworth West London. Address to send items (by 29 September): Samos donations, Sunvil House, Upper Square, Old Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 7BJ.
Monetary donations, which will be used to buy water and food locally, can also be made at our crowdfunding page.
Over the last 48-hours, the Greek island of Kos has featured on UK news channels with reports about an influx of migrants. Sunvil carries a small number of guests to the island, most of whom just overnight on Kos before transferring to other destinations.
Other islands in close proximity to the Turkish coast, including the island of Samos, have also been mentioned in this morning’s reports. We have spoken to our representatives and local agents and can confirm that none of the areas we feature are affected in any way by the unfortunate scenes being shown on the TV. This is because Kos is attracting the majority of migrants and the systems set up to handle them there are not currently coping.
Numbers of migrants arriving on the other islands near Turkey are much fewer and, we are pleased to report, are being treated with respect and dignity before being transferred to Athens a few days later. We have had no reports from any of our customers who have travelled to the area with us this year of any disruption to their holiday environment due to migrants.
As a result of the recent changes announced by the Greek government, VAT rises for certain products and services came into effect today.
Food and drink in restaurants, certain items in supermarkets and public transport will all be affected by the increase from 13% to 23%. (The increase may be a little less on certain islands where discounted VAT rates still apply)
Reports in from our representatives this morning confirm that the majority of tavernas are not expecting to increase their prices as a result of the changes, as they will try to absorb the extra VAT where possible. Of course this may differ from one establishment to another and one resort to the next.
We have received some reports of ferry and bus prices (including excursions) increasing, but the increases are minimal and are not affecting all services. Where buses and ferries are provided as part of an inclusive package with Sunvil Holidays and GIC - The Villa Collection, the increase in VAT will not be passed onto our clients.
Of course with the Sterling/Euro exchange rate at the best it's been for many years, prices in Greece are still remarkable value for money for British holidaymakers, and this will more than compensate for any VAT increases.
Banks have reopened again this morning. With cash withdrawal restrictions still in place for holders of Greek bank accounts, we expect cash to still be widely available in ATMs in our resort areas as it has been since the start of the recent bank closures. There are no restrictions on cash withdrawals for holders of UK bank cards, other than the normal daily limit specified by your bank. However our advice remains to take a good supply of Euros with you when you go in case of any local or temporary shortages.
As always, our reps on the ground are keeping us up to date with the local situation and should things change then we will update guests accordingly.
We are very pleased to see that the overnight meetings in Brussels have concluded with a deal reached to help keep Greece in the Euro.
Life in our islands and resorts really has been going on as normal with no visible impact from the negotiations, hopefully the result of the talks will restore confidence in travellers and send the clear message that Greece is open for business and ready to welcome guests with open arms.
We are still recommending guests departing in the next few days to take enough Euros with them to cover the duration of their trip, although cash machines are still stocked.
MINISTRY FOR ECONOMY, INFRASTRUCTURE, SHIPPING AND TOURISM
PRESS RELEASE - 8 July 2015
The Ministry for Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism would like to reassure visitors to Greece that hotels, restaurants, shops and supermarkets have adequate food supplies, the prices of which have remained stable if not reduced as in the case of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is also the case for fuel, as gas stations are adequately stocked and prices remain unchanged.
Any reports stating the opposite are not reflecting the actual situation on the ground.
The Ministry for Economy via the General Secretariat for Commerce is working closely with local authorities and food companies and has taken all the necessary steps to ensure the supply of goods to the Greek market continues to operate as normal so that demand is entirely covered not only for the Greek people but also for the numerous visitors who have chosen Greece for their holidays.
Mr. George Stathakis
Minister for Economy
We understand that there may be concern following the 'No' vote by the Greek people in yesterday's referendum.
Here, at Sunvil, we continue to monitor the situation across the mainland and the islands. The latest reports, in overnight from our local offices, confirm that life goes on as normal. Our resorts remain unaffected and their supermarkets and pharmacies are fully stocked.
The only real uncertainty is the provision of cash from the cash points. Whilst most ATMs are still stocked and dispensing cash, we advise travellers to follow the Foreign Office advice and to take enough Euros with them to cover the duration of their trip. We are also offering to make cash available through our local offices should the need arise.
For customers covered by Sunvil’s travel insurance policy, the cover for personal cash has been increased to £500 per person for those travelling in July.
The no vote does not mean that Greece will revert back to the Drachma. It was a vote to reject the current bailout proposals and the hope is that all parties will return to the negotiating tables today and a more acceptable resolution will be found.
Whatever the outcome there is unlikely to be any immediate change and, should the final decision be that Greece withdraws from the Euro, the adoption of the new currency is likely to happen over a period of time. Tourists travelling to Greece this summer will not be affected.
So there really isn’t any need to be concerned. With our team of 25 overseas representatives and local offices, we will look after you - as we always have done - and will keep you abreast of any changes to the situation.
Chris Wright – Sunvil Holidays
06 Jul 2015 10:00
Monday 29 June 2015 06:00
Developments in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors over the weekend mean that cash controls have been implemented across the country.
All banks will be closed on Monday and we are advised that they are likely to remain closed for the rest of the week.
The majority of cash machines don’t currently have cash available. However we are advised that as of later today (Monday) machines will be back on line, but with restrictions in place for those with local bank accounts. These restrictions (a daily limit of between 50-60 euros) will stop the run on the banks and should mean that machines do not run out of cash.
The restrictions will not affect foreign bank cards with accounts registered outside of Greece and as such tourists will still be allowed to withdraw cash. (Update – Cash now becoming available in cash machines 11:00)
In the majority of places credit cards, where previously accepted (this has always been limited especially smaller islands) are still being accepted however this could change at short notice.
Our advice remains the same. Guests should follow the Foreign Office advice and take enough Euro’s with them in cash and not rely on ATM withdrawals or credit card payments.
In the event of an emergency, we will make cash available through our local offices but this is to cover emergencies only and should not be relied on.
Aside from the cash situation, life in Greece; especially in the resorts and islands away from the big cities, goes on as normal.
Our chairman is currently travelling in Greece and his latest report on Sunday evening stated “One is tempted to say 'what' crisis? It is Sunday night, not the most popular of nights to go out, but the cafés and tavernas are full. Plenty of talk about the economic situation but life goes on as normal. This is a vibrant city with a student population of 150,000 and it is no less vibrant today than on any other occasion when I have visited.”
The situation this week will obviously be ever changing and we will of course update people as we know more information, however we really don’t expect guests' holiday experiences to be impacted.
Even if Greece should be forced to leave the Euro currency union, this will not happen overnight. A currency change will take, it is estimated, about 18 months to implement and in the meantime the Euro will remain the currency in use in Greece.
Sunvil Holidays wins Best Tour Operator in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine Value for Money Awards 2015
Sunvil Holidays has scooped the top slot in the annual Sunday Times Travel Magazine Value for Money Awards for best Tour Operator. The panel said: 'An oldie but a goodie, Sunvil is the clear favourite for its Grecian expertise, getting you to many of the obscure Greek Islands and, more importantly, working out the fiddly bits about getting there. Despite its reputation for the more practical, affordable packages, our panel think its magic touch is having the absolute best hotels and reps on the ground and a real eye for up-and-coming parts of Greece'. We couldn't agree more!
Congratulations to Sunvil Chairman Noel Josephides, winner of 2015 Globe Award for Outstanding Achievement
The award was presented, following these words from the event sponsor:
'Tonight’s winner is a tour operator and agent who studied economics, worked in an Oxford Street department store and imported lemons before moving into the sector more than 40 years ago. His contribution since has been immense.
Despite running a company, he has found time to play an industry-leading role at Abta and at the tour operators’ association AITO.
His passion for the environment saw him help set up the Travel Foundation. His contribution to destinations has been recognised by the governments of Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, and as a member of the committee on air travel insolvency protection he has been an advisor to the Department for Transport.
A gymnast in his youth, he taught clowns to tumble at Chessington and may wish it was as easy to educate Government ministers. He has somehow found time to raise four children, play tennis, ski, fix carsand maintain ahome in France, and remains game enough to run barefoot in a toga in a recent celebration of the ancient Pan Hellenic games.
A man with demandingly high standardsand an industry-wide reputation for honesty and fairness, he is someone who has made a difference. Yet he is modest about his achievements and, at an age when he could be taking it easy, remains impatient to do more.'
We'll be at London Destinations Holiday and Travel Show - 29th January to 1st February 2015. Visit our destination specialists at stand E50 to discuss your holiday ideas for 2015 and enter our prize draw with the chance to win a holiday to Greece! (T&C's apply)
Sunvil have been advised that Manchester Airport Railway Station will be closing temporarily in January 2015 whilst essential work is carried out. Only two platforms will be in use between Sunday 11th and Saturday 17th January 2015 and the station will then be closed to all trains until Monday 9th February 2015.
The essential upgrade is part of the £1bn+ investment in the railway being made over the next five years across the north of England and will allow extra services to call at the airport, providing passengers with better access with faster, more frequent train services.
Please check before you travel at nationalrail.co.uk
For the fourth year, the Sunvil Family are holding their “MEET THE TRAVEL EXPERTS” day on Saturday 1st November 2014. This is an opportunity for you to meet the team, as well as a chance for us to showcase the “Sunvil Family” and to unveil our new holiday ideas and programmes for 2015.
The event will take place in central London at The Law Society, a magnificent Grade II listed building boasting an interior of stunning elegance.Throughout the day there will be a variety of inspirational talks from destination specialists and travel writers. You will also be able to sample delicacies from many of our featured destinations - Alentejan pork, Azorean cheese, wines from Greece, South Africa and South America and much much more.
Discuss your next holiday with one of our knowledgeable team; learn about our destinations old and new; catch up with familiar faces; or just have a chat about your favourite holiday spot. If you would like to discuss a specific holiday idea on the day with one of our travel experts, you can also request an appointment online, once you've registered.
For more information about the event and to register online please visit: Meet the Travel Experts Event Site
M56 Weekend Closure at Manchester Airport Junction closed Friday 1 Aug-Monday 4 Aug 2014
Drivers are being reminded that the M56 will be closed near Manchester Airport this weekend as the Highways Agency demolishes a bridge as part of its £5.5m pinch point improvement in the area.
The motorway will be totally closed in both directions between junction 5 at Manchester Airport and junction 6 at Hale for up to 55 hours from 10pm on Friday night (Friday 1 August) and may be closed until 5am on Monday morning (4 August).
Drivers needing to access the airport from the M60 and Manchester will still be able to use the airport spur from the westbound M56 at junction 5. However, people heading towards the airport along the eastbound M56 from North Wales and Liverpool will need to leave at junction 6 for Hale and follow the short diversion using Runger Lane.
People travelling to the airport are being urged to leave extra time for journeys and check traffic conditions before setting out.
Whilst we are not on sale for 2015 until December and prices are not known until November, if you would like to book for next year please contact Sunvil and we will hold a room for you. A deposit of GBP150 per person is required at time of advance registering and we will also require a booking form to be completed, signed and returned.
Package prices can change from one year to the next for a number of reasons including but not limited to cost of aviation fuel, tax increases, currency changes and terms of contract. In light of this, we guarantee that should the 2015 holiday price increase by more than ten per cent on the 2014 brochure prices you will be entitled to cancel and receive a refund of all monies paid.
A letter of acknowledegment will be sent to you.
The Sunvil team were pleased to attend the Church Street Party community event on Saturday 7th June. The event was held near to our head office in Old Isleworth, and our raffle prize of two return flights to Corfu helped raise over £900 for local charities. The day was a great success, with over 1,800 local people attending.
This week Germania Airlines has released outstanding on-time performance statistics for August 2013 flights operated on behalf of Sunvil Holidays
We have been advised that there will be a General Strike in Greece on these two days. This will affect public transportation in Athens and major towns. Flights and ferries are planned to operate as normal - however there may be some delays. Please take advice from our staff on the ground in Greece. Please note archaeological sites and museums will not be open.