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Tourism: A Main Priority For Greece

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras © ANA-MPA

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras © ANA-MPA

Greece’s record-breaking tourism season in 2013 has the Government and tourism professionals seeing eye to eye on the importance of tourism for the country’s economy. This was the outcome of a meeting chaired by Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion in January.

The main conclusion of the meeting was that tourism remains a main priority for the Greek Government.

In 2013, Greece welcomed 17.92 million arrivals and registered an all-time record in revenues of some 12 billion euros, according to the Bank of Greece.

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni.

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni.

Tourism Ministry: Initial signs for 2014 are positive

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni has stated that she anticipates an even better season than 2013.

“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.

SETE expects 18.5 million arrivals this year

Andreas Andreadis, president of SETE.

Andreas Andreadis, president of SETE.

The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises has stated that Greece will see a new record year in tourism this year.

SETE’s president, Andreas Andreadis, expects arrivals to surpass 18.5 million, direct revenue to add up to 13 billion euros and 50,000 jobs to be created in Greece this year.

The association’s main target is for Greece to attract 24 million arrivals and for five to six percentage points to be added to the country’s gross domestic product by 2021.

2013: Greek tourism made spectacular recovery

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Yiorgos Tsakiris

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Yiorgos Tsakiris

Last year’s tourism data prompted the Research Institute for Tourism (ITEP) to label 2013 as “a year of a spectacular recovery for tourism in Greece.”

ITEP’s data was presented during the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels third general assembly in February. The chamber’s president, Yiorgos Tsakiris, said that 2013 confirmed that “tourism is Greece’s main economic activity and main employment provider.”

According to data provided by the Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and processed by ITEP, Greek tourism recorded double-digit growth in arrivals (increase by 15.4 percent), overnights (14.5 percent) and revenue (18.1 percent) in 2013. (The data announced by ITEP was based on temporary figures at the time and was in the course of finalization by the Documentation Center for Greek Tourism.)

Commenting on the data, Mr. Tsakiris said Greece could achieve further growth this year as long as a good image is promoted to key markets abroad.

Highest Increase In Overnight Visits In EU

Meanwhile, Greece recorded the highest increase in the number of nights spent in hotels last year among all 28 European Union member states, according to data released by Eurostat.

According to Eurostat, overnight visits in Greece increased to 87.3 million nights spent at the country’s tourism accommodation establishments compared to the year before (68.8 million overnights were made by foreign visitors and 18.5 million were made by Greeks).

Athens Hoteliers Think Positive

Alexandros Vassilikos, president of the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association. Photo credit: Fosphotos

Alexandros Vassilikos, president of the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association. Photo credit: Fosphotos

Like the rest of Greece, tourist arrivals and revenue also picked up last year in Athens after six years of downward trend, according to data released by the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association.

According to the association’s president, Alexandros Vassilikos, although hoteliers in the Greek capital are still counting tremendous losses recorded since 2007-2008, the first positive signs of recovery are apparent.

Last year, hotels in Athens-Attica saw an 11 percent increase in occupancy and an 8.7 percent rise in revenue per available room when compared to 2012.

All agree that political stability is essential

So far international bookings for Greece show an increase ranging between eight and 11 percent on last year.

Tourism professionals expect Greek tourism to remain in strong shape in 2014 and experience a new record in arrivals and revenue, as long as the political stability in the country is maintained.

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