“It will be a great year, if all goes well,” she recently told the Greek media.
According to the minister, bookings to Greece are currently up by 70 percent compared with 2016. Kountoura stressed that preliminary figures that refer to a drop in 2016 tourism revenue — some 800 million euros — have been challenged by the data of official bodies and international organizations such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). She said the issue will be looked into by a task force that will include representatives of the Bank of Greece and the tourism ministry.
The minister also informed that last year hotel revenue increased by one percent, while the turnover in food service and hotels grew by 4.5 percent. Moreover, she said that luxury tourism saw a 10 percent increase.
“In 2016 we succeeded in forming a policy to extend the tourism season, aiming for tourism all 365 days a year,” she said, underlining that overnight stays increased considerably from March to October, while data of international arrivals to Greece for the months of December, January and February recorded double digit growth. Kountoura added that this year the hotels on Santorini will be open year round.
Among the ministry’s major achievements for tourism is the direct air link to the US all year round, according to Kountoura.