The utilization of NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) funds in order to boost entrepreneurship, create the framework for new investments and modernize the tourism product is a top priority, Tourism minister Olga Kefalogianni said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a one-day conference on “Entrepreneurship in Crete and Attika – Agrotourism, Enotourism and Religious Tourism”, the minister added that Greece has all the necessary tools to “make Attica and Athens into tourism development models”, and that Crete is already a leading tourist destination with the necessary infrastructure in place.
“Tourism is a national affair,” Mrs. Kefalogianni said, “It must bring us together and produce results for the good of each region and its residents; for the benefit of Greece.”
The minister stressed that the government’s action plan on tourism has borne fruit and the sector’s upturn bears that out.
“The sector has recovered. In the last two years we’ve changed the conditions and broken dozens of records. The tourism sector is growing into a catalyst for the strengthening of the Greek economy,” she said, referring to Bank of Greece figures for 2014, which indicate a 13.4 percent increase in revenue and a 15.6 percent rise in tourist arrivals.
Citing social security fund IKA figures, Mrs. Kefalogianni added that tourism created 120,000 new jobs for the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2013.