Highlighting tourism’s overall contribution to the economy and its key role in keeping unemployment figures low, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), representing the majority of the sector, called on Tourism Minister Giorgos Stathakis to ensure that conditions for further and longterm growth are in place.
In a letter sent to the minister on Tuesday, SETE outlined the goals and investments necessary in order to keep Greek tourism competitive.
Priorities as outlined by SETE include guaranteeing adequate EU funding (from NSRF funds, among others) of tourism businesses regardless of size in all regions of the country, the introduction of state aid schemes exclusively for tourism enterprise, promoting central coordination and integrated planning on one front, offering attractive incentives in the given economic environment (lack of liquidity), simplifying, standardizing and accelerating the application, permit and aid procedures for investment projects, and ensuring the transparency of all related procedures.
In its letter, SETE also presented its action plan through to 2021. Goals include expanding the tourist product by tapping into the country’s cultural and natural resources as well as the parallel promotion of local products, implementing internationally recognized quality standards of tourism services and vocational training, identifying and promoting the tourist offerings unique to each region and supporting local enterprises which contribute through tourism-related products (wine, foods, cheeses, sweets) to the local economy.
SETE also highlighted its ongoing actions which include the further development of the “sea and sun” concept, attracting higher-income travelers, promoting Athens and Thessaloniki as city break destinations, promoting existing infrastructure for the establishment of conference tourism, tapping into island and coastal offerings to boost sea and cruise tourism, securing cooperative actions on a local level to promote culinary tourism, implementing internationally recognizable quality certification of tourism services and professions, strengthening road tourism, and finally, expanding the tourist season via all of the above actions with the aim to increase the average expenditure per tourist and the number of overnight stays.
SETE concluded that in order for Greece’s tourism product to remain competitive, particularly in a time when international travel is moving away from Europe, the government must make it a priority to attract investment but also to invest in the sector based on the overall strategy and individual business plans of SETE members, ensure the longterm support of local tourism enterprise and work in a coordinated fashion towards a single goal: to make Greek tourism the country’s strongest industry.