The tourism ministry is aiming to capitalize on Greece’s good performance in 2016 by opening up to new markets, extending the tourism season to include winter and autumn, and attracting higher income tourists, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Athens News Agency radio, Kountoura said the goal is to bring in tourists willing to spend. “Our goal is quality tourism,” she said. “In 2016, we tripled the number of arrivals from the US and Canada, a market we managed to reach out to with the help of the Diaspora Greeks.”
The minister noted that American travelers as those from the United Arab Emirates tend to spend more while on holiday and Greece has managed to attract both with the latter up by 55 percent.
Minister Kountoura stressed that a “success” in this direction was the daily direct flight from Dubai to Athens and New York to be launched by Emirates in March, which she said was achieved after a year and a half of negotiations.
In the meantime, Kountoura said that the ministry has called for the creation of a working group that will look into factors affecting the central bank’s findings on dwindling tourism revenue for 2016, despite an increase in the number of tourism arrivals for the same year.
Kountoura added that the ministry in collaboration with the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) had carried out qualitative research which identified an increasing number of high income visitors in 2016. The findings were supported by a complementary study carried out by the University of Crete which also found that a large percentage of travelers to Greece last year belonged to the 60,000 euro-plus annual income bracket.