Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pachtas approved credits worth 32 million euros (11 billion drachmas) to finance a marketing campaign for Greek tourism, domestically and abroad. That is twice the figure spent last year, the minister said.
A few days later, Dimitris Georgakopoulos, deputy development minister responsible for tourism, said that before 2004 the Hellenic Tourism Organization‘s budget for tourism advertising and promotion abroad would reach as much as 88 million euros (30 billion drachmas) annually.
Now is the time for such expenditures. Greece is in the front line of choice for many European holidaymakers in 2002.
For example, German tour operators estimate that Greek destinations will see an increase of 3% to 5% in reservations for 2002 when compared with last year. They say that customers are steering clear of Muslim markets in favor of Mediterranean destinations like Greece and Spain.
The fact that 90% of clients will most likely not cancel their wintertime reservations was the first encouraging element for the German market place. But the picture is not all rosy. According to Germany’s biggest tour operator, TUI, which is also Europe’s largest operator, Germany’s tourism market is expected to be developed by 1% to 2% in 2002, instead of 3% to 4% as it had been initially projected. As well, due to high air transfer costs, prices in general have been increased and in particular by 6% in Turkey, 5% in Bulgaria, and 3% in Greece, Spain and Germany.
TUI expects an overall increase of 6% in travel this year. The company guarantees its clients a 100% refund if the services provided do not meet its standards and if any problem is not solved within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, some 110,000 from abroad are expected to participate in the tourism organization’s program to lengthen the country’s tourism season. The program began in this past fall and will last for three years. During this period, there is a 40-euro subsidy given to tour operators for every arrival between October 15 and November 30 and between March 1 and April 30.
According to the organization, the total increase in arrivals will mean an additional one million overnights for the Greek tourism sector.