The Greek Government and tourism professionals are seeing eye to eye on the importance of tourism for the country’s economy, according to the outcome of a meeting that took place on 7 January at the Maximos Mansion. The meeting was chaired by Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and attended by government ministers, representatives of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) and other tourism professionals.
The main conclusion of the meeting was that tourism remains a main priority for the Greek Government.
In 2013 Greece welcomed 17.8 million arrivals and registered an all-time record in revenues of 12.5 billion euros.
Following are statements made to the press by government ministers and tourism professionals after the meeting.
Tourism Minister: Initial messages for 2014 are positive
When speaking to the press after the meeting, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said 2013 was a very good year for Greek tourism and that next year she anticipates an even better season. “The initial messages for 2014 are positive and encourage that Greece should expect more revenue and jobs, which will give a boost to the country’s economy,” she said.
Mrs. Kefalogianni said that last year Greece regained its credibility in the global tourism market and changed its image abroad in addition to the great success in terms of arrivals and revenue.
The tourism minister added that government decisions helped attract investment to Greece and enrich the tourism product with new products such as medical and religious tourism.
“We accomplished all this by following a national strategic plan, which we will continue to work on in 2014,” she said.
Mrs. Kefalogianni described 2014 as a “year of responsibility” and called for all to respect laws to prevent and deter undeclared work so Greece could conquer one of the top places on the global tourism map in the next few years.
SETE targets 24 million arrivals by 2021
The president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, Andreas Andreadis, said Greece will see a new record year in tourism this year, as long as the political stability in the country is maintained.
In 2014, Mr. Andreadis expects arrivals to surpass 18.5 million, direct revenue to add up to 13 billion euros and 50,000 jobs to be created.
He said the main target is for Greece to attract 24 million arrivals by 2021 along with 48 billion euros in total revenue and 300,000 jobs.
SETE’s president underlined the importance of the government’s decision to maintain the value-added tax rate at 13 percent for catering enterprises and applauded the recent establishment of the new collective labor agreement for hotel employees.
Hotel Chamber: Greece must show a stable image
According to the president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Yiorgos Tsakiris, 2014 is expected to be even a better year for Greek tourism, as long as the country shows a stable image.
During the meeting, Mr. Tsakiris suggested the further improvement of the Greek tourism product with actions on the standards of medical tourism and the Greek Breakfast initiative. He also underlined the importance of upgrading the country’s hotel services, defining a new development model for tourism and he also stressed the need for further resources to be invested in Greece’s tourism promotion.
On his part, Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said the increase in tourism in 2014 would boost unemployment while Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos announced the Culture Ministry’s intention to extend the hours of 30 of Greece’s most visited archaeological sites and museums from 8am to 8pm.
The meeting at the Maximos Mansion was also attended by the ministers of Finance, Yiannis Stournaras; Devlopment, Kostis Hadjidakis; and Shipping, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.