PHILOXENIA 2011 greeting.
We welcome all tourism professionals that are taking part or just visiting this year’s 27th International Tourism Exhibition Philoxenia in the hospitable city of Thessaloniki, in our beautiful Macedonia.
Within a particularly gray landscape of a prolonged economic crisis and despite the negative events that marked the evolution of this year’s tourism traffic in our country, the Greek tourism product shows its strength.
With the support of the Russian market, from which our region recorded a significant arrival growth, this year’s tourism season saw an increase in arrivals and revenue likely to exceed 10 percent.
Tourism has proved once again that it is the sector that, despite any adversity in the wider economy, can financially support and provide breathing space to the country.
With serious strategic planning for the new season of 2012 and while trying to extend the tourism season, the contribution of the industry could exceed 18 percent of GDP.
We are expecting bold actions towards this direction by the political leadership for fee reductions at airports, full liberalization of the cruise sector, reduced VAT rates and a stable tax regime.
Also expected of course is a targeted promotion abroad particularly in emerging markets, which was non-existent this year and a solution for the facilitation to obtain visas for countries from where there is an interest to visit our country.
And most important is the reduction of bureaucracy that will allow the development of tourism investments of high quality and competitiveness that will be based on our multicultural heritage.