Celebration of World Tourism Day came and went in late September with little fanfare. Greece’s tourism minister welcomed some dignitaries at Cape Sounio and local professional organizations made some announcements. The Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts, for example, said that tourism arrivals will rise by at least 8 percent this year, and noted a 60 percent increase in incoming flights during September when compared to the same period in 2004. Crete and the Dodecanese Islands were the most popular destinations the institute said a day ahead of the recent World Tourism Day celebrations.
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises highlighted the dependence of the tourism sector upon air travel, noting that more than 80 percent of foreign visitors arrive in Greece by plane. It also took the opportunity to criticize state carrier Olympic Airlines for “poisoning free competition by systematically undermining all private initiatives via unfair means.”
Separately, around the same time, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos discussed measures aimed at boosting infrastructure for sea tourism activities such as cruises and sailing.
Mr. Kefaloyiannis said an initiative was under way to develop a network of marinas connecting the country’s islands. Mr. Avramopoulos’s deputy minister, Anastassios Liaskos, revealed a series of measures aimed at developing sports tourism, encouraging more visitors to engage in sporting activities in Greece.
Meanwhile, more Greeks are reportedly opting to take their own holidays within their native borders, according to a recent study, which said that a summer media campaign had been extremely successful.