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Key Tourism Figures 2017: Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism

Elena Kountoura, Minister of TourismOfficial Tourism Message

Greece stands out as a global attractive 365-day destination, the only country in the Mediterranean and Europe, with more than 100 islands, 16,000 kilometers of coastline and a gorgeous mainland awaiting to be explored year round. Safe, friendly and very welcoming, Greece is a top choice for families, couples, friends, seniors, students, individual or business travelers who enjoy highly-personalized travel experiences and unparalleled word-famous hospitality.

Since 2015 we have been implementing our national tourism policy, based on five strategic pillars. We focused on extending the official summer season, opening new dynamic source-markets, introducing new fabulous Greek destinations, developing thematic tourism, and attracting new tourism investments of high added value.

Sustainable tourism is at the core of our policy to showcase all our unique comparative advantages linked to our enormous history and culture, to the preservation of our rich and untouched natural environment and the unique authentic identity of our destinations.

Greek tourism is growing year-by-year at a rate almost double the global average and achieves record-breaking results. In 2015 more than 26 million tourists visited Greece. In 2016 international arrivals exceeded 28 million. 2017 is an exceptional year, beyond all expectations in all tourism figures and the number of international visitors is projected to exceed 30 million.

Our visitors choose cosmopolitan destinations but also hidden paradises that we now promote for their exceptional sea and sun year-round. At the same time we offer thematic experiences for cultural tourism, religious and pilgrimage tours, cruises, yachting, diving in our safe crystal-clear blue waters, luxury vacation, unforgettable wedding and honeymoon trips, outdoor sports and recreation, health and wellness, city-breaks, MICE and gastronomy.

All 13 highly diverse Regions of Greece have so much to offer: archaeological sites and monuments of world heritage, religious sites and monasteries, more than 700 natural hot springs and modern spas, mythical mountains, forests, lakes and waterfalls, winter resorts and more than 3,000 villages that have kept their authentic character untouched.

Our modern cities are “open museums,” known for their cultural attractions, their unique entertainment and nightlife, their exceptional food and shopping.

Especially for Athens, our visitors can enjoy the “Athens Riviera” seaside as well as daily cruises to Greek islands.

Our visitors feel like “home away from home”. They immerse in the local culture and tradition, participate in local festivities, taste our excellent food from locally grown products based on the famous healthy and tasty Greek diet, and enjoy their interaction with the friendly Greek people.

The dynamic growth in Greece’s tourism sector in the past three years has led to a surge in high-quality investments. A total of 265 proposals for projects for 4-and 5-star hotels have been submitted to our Ministry’s one-stop-shop since the beginning of 2016, and the number continues to rise. Our product is continuously being upgraded and enriched.

On the occasion of this edition, I invite you to visit Greece and explore all its exciting aspects as a top-of-the-mind destination, that can satisfy even the most demanding visitors with so many unique and distinct travel experiences.

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