By Nikos Krinis in Berlin
Following two consecutive years of record-breaking results, 2017 is turning into another year of dynamic growth for Greece as a global attractive tourism destination, according to Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura.
“Greek tourism this year began on a high note and we are hoping that this will continue,” Minister Kountoura told the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) on the sidelines of the ITB travel trade show running in Berlin.
Referring to the latest figures that see Greece among the top-selling destinations for Germany this year, Minister Kountoura underlined that Greece has earned the respect of all due to its reliability.
“Tour operators saw and felt the changes and witnessed the development of our tourism product,” she said, adding that in just two years the tourism ministry’s strategy has succeeded in prolonging the season from March until November — thanks to the addition of more flights to Greece — and attracting a double digit figure in early bookings for the next season.
Speaking during a press conference on the first day of ITB, the president of the German Travel Association (DRV), Norbert Fiebig, said that early bookings for Greece are currently recording an increase of some 70 percent this year compared to 2016. Tour operators FTI and Schauinsland-Reisen have reported high sales for Greece and travel giant TUI is seeing a 30 percent booking surge.
Minister Kountoura echoed a statement made by UNWTO Taleb Rifai during his recent visit to Athens, underlining that Greece’s success is not due to the insecurity of tourists to book their holidays in neighboring destinations. “Greece’s growth in tourism is not accidental… Greece has its own identity and through its policies has achieved in attracting tourists and – most importantly – making them loyal tourists, repeat visitors”, she said.