“Greece saw a 15 percent rise in travel revenue and tourist arrivals last year,” Mr. Quest commented in the beginning of the interview.
2013 was considered a record year for Greek tourism, as many as 18 million tourists visited the country, generating some 12 billion euros in direct revenue for the Greek State.
The tourism minister said that 2014 is expected to be the first year Greece will have a marginal growth since the country entered a recession six years ago. “Tourism has been the most resilient sector of the economy and it is true that it is the first good message about the Greek economy,” Mrs. Kefalogianni said.
“Not just for sea and sun and the Greek island vacation, but also for thematic tourism,” she added.
Greece says “no” to sanctions against Russia
When Mr. Quest changed the subject and referred to concerns on the sanctions against Russia – one of the largest growth sectors for Greece in terms of tourism – the tourism minister said that was something Greece would never support.
In 2013, Greece had an increase of some 45 percent in the number of visitors from Russia.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming more Russian visitors in Greece… They (sanctions) should be imposed on governments and not people, so we would never prevent Russian visitors from coming to Greece,” Mrs. Kefalogianni stressed.
“We actually saw an increase in the number of visas issued in March,” she added.