Extending the season and creating substantial infrastructure are key to maintaining the momentum in Greek tourism, TUI Group CEO Friedrich Joussen told Greek daily Ta Nea, adding that insecurity due to strikes can lead to great losses.
The Hannover-based group is the largest tour operator active in Greece, investing additionally this year in cruise travel as well as in a pilot sustainable tourism program on the island of Crete. But Joussen is quick to point out that despite increasing tourist numbers in the last two years, sector professionals must continue to work towards improving services and keeping damaging actions at bay.
“I believe it is important that while things are going well there are no actions taken that thwart the upward trend,” Joussen said referring to an increase value added tax and a proposed night levy.
“I wonder, is it really sensible to take such measures? To the contrary, I believe it is more important to ensure upgraded infrastructure is in place such as airports…,” he added.
Joussen pointed out that despite the sociopolitical factors that have turned tourism flows to Greece, the country remains a very attractive destination due to its excellent human potential, sea, sun, natural environment and infrastructure as well as for its originality and a way of life that embraces tourism.
According to Joussen, Greece’s tourism strategy should focus on taking advantage of a current increased interest in the Western Mediterranean and the overall insecurity elsewhere in the region but it should also remain a strong destination in the long term by offering excellent services and attracting in the meantime new visitors.
On a final note, Joussen said that TUI was investing in additional flights to Greek destinations, expanding its hotel dynamic and boosting cruise travel by 20 percent compared to last year. The company has also organized on Crete a pilot program involving a network of hotels and agricultural businesses, farmers, wine producers, olive growers with the aim of linking tourism with local agricultural production and becoming a model of sustainable tourism.