Sports and cultural tourism can prove to be the driving force of local economies in Western Greece, creating jobs and paving the way for growth, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said during the 9th Regional Conference on the Reconstruction of Production held in the port city of Patra this week.
Referring to Patra’s selection as a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) in cultural tourism, Minister Kountoura said it “reflects the tourist dynamics of the region, and the advantages it has towards achieving sustainable tourism development and international recognition”.
Together with Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, Ilia Deputy Regional Governor George Georgiopoulos and local decision-makers, Kountoura discussed the potential of the region and ways that cultural and sports tourism can become the driving force of the economy of Western Greece, particularly in view of the increasing tourism traffic via the Aktio and Araxos airports and the ports of Patra and Katakolo.
“The year has commenced with a 15-30 percent increase in pre-bookings by all traditional and new markets,” she said, adding that Western Greece destinations are set to experience a significant rise in tourism traffic this year, following negotiations and strategic agreements with international tour operators and airlines, set to boost flight schedules for 2018.
Stressing the ministry’s agenda for a prolonged tourism season, Kountoura underlined the role that wellness and health tourism can play as well as religious tourism, while stressing the need to promote the coastal destinations of Ilia, Achaia and Aitoloakarnania.