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Andreas Andreadis, President Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE)

Andreadis Andreadis, President, Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE)Philoxenia 2012 greeting.

Whenever anyone refers to Greece, one of the first things that come to mind is tourism. For the international public, Greece is and always has been famous for its rich tourism resources. For us Greeks, our country’s self-evident and perpetual endowment has now taken on another dimension.

Greek society now recognizes tourism, not just as a recreational activity, but mainly as an economic activity with clear social and environmental dimensions.

One of the few economic axes that managed to sustain its position through the continuous financial crisis in our country is tourism. 2011 was a record year both in international arrivals (16,5 million tourists) and in international receipts (10,5 billion euros), contributing the 16.5% to GDP.

In 2012, despite the harsh start, the bookings lost during the two election periods, the extremely negative publicity and the endless discussion about “Grexit”, Greek tourism remained resilient. All reports forecast that by the end of the year we will reach our initial 2012 goal for international arrivals (16 million tourists).

The 2013 targets are already set even higher; at 17 million international arrivals and 11 billion euros in international receipts. These targets will increase the tourism contribution to GDP with more than 16% and will create 40.000 new jobs.

The Greek tourism sector has a great potential to contribute another 2-3 units to GDP the next 2-3 years reaching 20 million visitors. But this is not our complete vision. Our vision for 2020 sees Tourism playing a central role in the effort to promote Greece’s economic and social development.

We envision a country that ensures a high standard of living for its residents, a country where people from all over the world would like to live. A country that is pleasant to its permanent residents, therefore pleasant and appealing to its visitors, the temporary residents.

Now is the time to revamp our collaborative power, work together and conquer out mutual targets. We believe that the State is ready today more than ever before to grasp the tourism potential of the country and realize the full potential for development and growth.

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