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Giorgos Telonis, President Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies

Giorgos Telonis, President, Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (ΗΑΤΤΑ)Philoxenia 2013 greeting.

2013 was a good year for Greek tourism.

This year tourism arrivals will exceed the target of 17 million tourists and travel receipts are expected surpass some 15 percent.

The above mentioned data is the result of hard work from all tourism professionals, but it should not be a reason to rest on our laurels. Instead we must intensify our efforts to achieve even better results.

We must not forget that in recent years we had a drop in arrivals but most importantly, a significant revenue shortfall. In recent years, the average per capita expenditure of tourists has indicated a considerable decrease that is inconsistent in relation to other competing countries.

Now that our country appears to have overcome the huge defamation it suffered in recent years and more and more positive comments about Greece are transmitted, the time has come to look towards tourism and Greek tourism development on a global scale, work out long-term strategies for the growth and promotion of our diverse tourism product.

The main objective should be the expansion of our tourism season through measures and actions to diversify and enrich our tourism offer, the opening in international tourism markets, the exploitation of the dynamics of specific groups, such as senior travelers, young students, special interest groups (eg, religious, medical, cultural tourism, etc.). I believe this will enable us to expand our tourism season and at last refer to all year round tourism.

Our goal should also include the promotion of Greece as a quality tourism destination, with high-level attractions, activities and offered services to attract high-income tourists that are not confined to the solidarity of all inclusive resorts, but opt to discover the country they are visiting and support local communities.

It is clear that Greek tourism needs a change in the way of thinking, a change of mentality.

It requires open horizons, synergies and removal of disincentives.

Joining forces and coordinated efforts are essential.

Tourism needs extraversion, an aggressive policy and preparedness.

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