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Key Tourism Figures 2016: Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism

Εlena ΚountouraOfficial Tourism Message

Greece, one of the world’s leading destinations, maintained its strong momentum in 2016 and continued its course to growth. International arrivals are expected to exceed the record-breaking number of 26 million that had been achieved in 2015 and these positive results are due to our new national tourism policy that we designed and implemented with a concrete plan to further empower and promote Greece’s tourism.

Through our new policy, we extended our season for the first time as early as the beginning of April and until November, enhanced our presence in our traditional markets but also accessed new dynamic source-markets abroad, pursued strategic cooperation to increase tourism packages and established new direct flights to popular but also new Greek destinations. As we develop new thematic tourist products based on our country’s unique competitive advantages, we are more ready than ever to attract tourism 365 days a year.

Our thirteen remarkably diverse regions, each with its own distinct identity offer highly personalized travel experiences in their varied landscape ranging from white sandy beaches to breathtaking mountain vistas, and from serene island villages to luxurious Mediterranean resorts. Our vibrant cities attract an increasing number of visitors that indulge in our history and culture and enjoy great entertainment, shopping, the famous Greek gastronomy and nightlife.

Our archaeological sites of world heritage and museums, art galleries and major cultural events, are a vivid representation of our unique culture. Festivals, local festivities, fairs and village feasts take place daily across Greece, in open-air theaters, castles and squares. Sports and recreation, spas and wellness, cultural and spiritual routes and culinary tours take place all year round.

Being the most diverse complex of islands in the Mediterranean, with one of the longest coastlines and with safe crystal-blue waters we have already a significant increase of cruises to Greek destinations, and we now develop our new strategy to become a major hub for cruises in Europe. Our islands’ proximity and frequent interconnection with the mainland allows our visitors to explore more than one destination in one trip.

There are few places in the world where you have the chance to ski on the mountain and within 20 minutes be able to swim at a breathtaking beach.
No other destination can spoil you with so many choices and can offer such wide-ranging and authentic travel experiences all year through.

In terms of infrastructure, new luxury hotels and resorts have emerged and major projects are underway for the renovation and upgrade of existing hotel units that offer diverse and high quality service along with the very warm Greek hospitality that our visitors experience throughout their trip.

On the occasion of the World Travel Market, where the heart of the global travel industry meets every year, I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to visit Greece and let yourself be carried away by the charm and magic this country will offer to you generously.

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  1. Todd Woods Reply

    Dear minister . I saw a documentary on the world famous ship building island of Syros and how many companies are finding it hard to exist with competition from the wider world Asia in particular. I am not an economic genius or know the answers to all the economic problems your country is facing but I do know one way that a country with your ancient legacy should be able to escape the normal barriers to outside completion . Most industries wait and hope for the world economy to pick up and rely on that out dated economic model the one by the way which has been succeeding and failing in equal measure. I think countries should think in a different way at the current model of economics for two reasons and by doing so achieve economic security . The first reason you should look at to becoming successful economically is to understand the current world approach doesn’t actually work . As I said it works and fails in equal measure and we are all at its mercy . It’s no longer needed the time it came from has past and nobody has an alternative way to that model from two centuries ago to proceed with . The next idea ,once you see the current system is collapsing under the weight of global expectations is to forget what the world might or might not do and do your own thing and your country has by far the greatest untapped potential in its past . Now that’s nothing you don’t know you make most of your money from tourism built on that past but what’s missing your thinking is people only come to look at the past in the current economic model what people now want is to go for even a short time into that past and experience it just like going to Disney land to see their favourite movie characters. But that’s for children you build a fleet of Ancient Greek war ships with authentic costumes and a fake city of Troy complete with wooden horse and all the extras and adults young and old will come to Greece to experience what Hollywood has already primed their imaginations thru movies about the Greek past and your economy will thrive . So what I’m saying is don’t wait for the world to recover and fill orders at your ship yards fill them yourselves and the investment will return tenfold and nobody else can take that from you its unique to your country if the Italians had the good sense to do the same and exploit their past in the same way your two countries would create an attraction that the Mediterranean would prove irresistible to people from all over the world . The ships don’t need to be made from timber the cost of that and maintenance would not make sense but you have unemployed ship builders and who are imaginative and skilled enough to work with your architects tour operators historians and people from many other areas to bring for real and not on a movie screen the reality even for just a day or two the adventure and excitement that the modern world has replaced . The future for any country with a past rich in beauty and history is in its past . Thank you for your time . Sincerely Todd woods .

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