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Tourism and the Future of the Greek Economy

At the recent Greek forum on tourism held by government leaders, it was found that Greece’s tourism sector contributes two of every 10 euros within the country’s economy, or 18% of its gross national product. And for every single euro that a visitor spends, the rest of the country’s economic sector creates an additional two euros.

Last year, the country’s economy, on average, took in a billion euros each month thanks to the tourism sector and the prospects for 2007 are just as positive. Tourism development is tied to the rest of the country’s economy and strengthens other sectors, such as commerce, construction and renovation, said the speakers.

Government officials said that: At the same time, tourism on the global level continues to increase. Forecasts show that the world tourism industry will double in size within the next 15 years. This leaves a series of new opportunities and possibilities for Greek tourism.

One of the most critical reasons for Greece to create and institute a new strategy is that tourism consists of one of the few economic sectors that run in line with the creativity and offer of specific services. Numerous industries and services change borders in today’s world. Not tourism.

Tourism development is linked with the progress of many other sectors and thus takes part in the promotion of investment in these, as well as in keeping many production facilities at home. The support and the development of local production, in almost every productive sector, depend either directly or indirectly on the dynamic movement of tourism.

To take this a step further, tourism helps balance regional development and lends a hand in the reawakening of regions and in the deepening of social cohesion.

Within the new international environment, Greece is called upon to place its tourism development as a major aim. The success of this aim is dependent on planning and vision, modern policies, new ideas, strong cooperation and combined efforts.

As a major part of this framework, Greece will upgrade and exploit its successful model of ‘sun and sea’ by modernizing over-developed tourism destinations, and by improving services and infrastructure.
As well, government is strengthening all types of new forms of tourism and exploiting the advantages of the country.

Changes, new legislation and above all huge investment projects that are underway and planned, are just a few of the things that allows Greece to feel confident within a strong competitive international climate and to win a major increase in international tourism arrivals so as to build itself a top place on the world’s tourism map.

At the same time, for the first time in Greece, the country’s success in its tourism strategy will be followed through two new systems now being initiated: the Hellas Tourism Observatory and the Hellas Tourism Satellite Account.

Concerning the national strategy for tourism, government said it concentrates on five specific sectors: The development of all forms of tourism; Legal framework and legislative initiatives; Investment promotion; A complete advertising and promotion program; And participation of all sectors as tourism is a national affair.

As well, the tourism model of ‘sun and sea’ continues to be and has been the basic axis of the sector for the past 40 years. Today, however, due to strong international competition, government now concentrates on all advantages and features open to the Greek tourism sector, parallel with a high level of quality services.

A special emphasis is placed on the promotion of rural tourism, which is particularly important for a county with regions of special interest, such as Greece. “Agrotourism” is considered a tourism product that allows for a different culture for the tourist and above all puts the traveler within the natural environment.

Other strategy plans of the government include the promotion of Greece’s natural spa destinations, Greek culture, sightseeing, skiing, marine tourism, religious tourism, gastronomy, athletic tourism, and city breaks.

These plans include the promotion of investment within the above areas of new forms of tourism, the slicing drastically of bureaucratic red tape, and the initiation of a modern legal framework.

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