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Greek Tourism Minister Expecting 2016 to Beat All Forecasts

Careful planning and a comprehensive national strategy are behind the tourism sector’s positive performance, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura told parliament on Wednesday, adding that she expects 2016 to beat all forecasts.

The minister referred to the record number of arrivals and revenues achieved in “difficult times” and added that tourism has proven to be a “national asset”.

“We managed to achieve a further increase in the number of visitors by about half a million compared to record year 2015, and we expect the total number of international arrivals to reach 27.5 million, given that cruise travel has also grown by 20 percent,” Kountoura said.

Despite the ongoing refugee crisis, the terrorism strikes, instability in Turkey and Brexit, Greece managed to remain a leading tourism destination, extend the traditional tourist season by three months, open up to new markets, and promote lesser known destinations.

At the same time, the minister underlined the improved investment environment as well as considerable funding for tourism enterprises. As part of these programs, museums, eco-parks, eno-tourism and religious tourism, thermal spring facilities, marinas, ski resorts, cultural and arts centers, accommodation facility upgrades, human resources, tourism promotional campaigns and public administration are all set to tap into some 300 million euros in EU subsidies, she said.

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