The government’s “Inner Cabinet” met recently to discuss the 10-year Greek tourism development plan drafted by the tourism ministry. According to the plan, Greece would welcome 20 million foreign visitors to 20 million upon the plan’s completion, up from a projected 14 million this year, sources said after an Inner Cabinet meeting, which approved a scheme to attract more tourists from the high-income brackets.
The scheme is said to include the formation of a committee comprising the ministers of tourism development, environment and public works, and economy and finance, which will aim to promote large-scale investments in the sector, and introduce incentives for withdrawing old hotels from service. It is hoped that two-thirds of visitors in 10 years’ time will be from the higher-income brackets.
Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said he was also in favor of a flexible ministerial body that would coordinate issues relating to culture, zoning plans, and air and sea transport.
Further, he argued that Greece has to rethink and expand its concept of tourism beyond that of summer vacations to include other activities that can attract foreign investment, such as golf, conferences, spas, sports, holiday homes, scuba diving and film productions.
Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas, who has long championed golf as an investment opportunity in his role as President of the Hellenic Golf Federation, agreed that Greece needs to build 10 new golf courses every year in order to be on a par in numbers with its rivals such as France, Spain and Turkey.