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GNTO Chief: 2018 Starts with Increase in Tourism Arrivals by 15-30%

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) president Charalambos Karimalis; Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) president Alexandros Vassilikos; journalist Christina Poutetsi and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) president Yiannis Retsos.

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) president Charalambos Karimalis; Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) president Alexandros Vassilikos; journalist Christina Poutetsi and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) president Yiannis Retsos. Photo: GTP

Following a record year, 2018 has started with a significant rise in tourism arrivals to Greece by 15-30 percent from all markets, according to the president of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), Charalambos Karimalis.

Karimalis recently participated in a panel discussion on Greek tourism during the Delphi Economic Forum III with Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) president Yiannis Retsos and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) president Alexandros Vassilikos.

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) president Charalambos Karimalis.

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) president Charalambos Karimalis.

“The significant growth of Greek tourism is the result of a united national and regional policy, implemented by the Tourism Ministry in collaboration with the country’s prefectures, organizations and the private sector…. Our strategic aim is to make Greece a top destination, offering integrated tourism experiences 365 days a year,” Karimalis said during his speech.

SETE president Yiannis Retsos also confirmed the significant increase of tourism figures, and said that the private sector needs to plan ahead.  “Tourism has a strong momentum but needs to be strengthened in order to confront difficult days in the future,” Retsos underlined, adding that in order for the sector to grow further it needs annual investments of up to 6 billion euros until 2021.

Retsos called on the government to improve Greece’s tax system, proceed with the establishment of a spatial planning framework and to provide investors with a sense of security.

Delphi Economic ForumFurthermore, HCH president Alexandros Vassilikos said that every Greek destination needs to decide on its own tourism identity in the next years. “The 87 percent of tourism revenues is generated by five Greek prefectures. This means that eight prefectures share the remaining 13 percent. Furthermore, 70 percent of revenues is generated within 97 days a year,” he said and called on all parts to work together in order to change these trends. “A weakness can also be an opportunity,” Vassilikos added.

The Delphi Economic Forum III is taking place in Delphi, Central Greece, with the participation of 400 speakers from all over the world until March 4.

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About the Author
Eleftheria has worked for several financial newspapers, magazines and websites during the past 19 years. Between 2004 and 2014 she worked as a radio producer, reporter and presenter for the Greek and English language program of “Athina 9.84 FM”. She also has hands-on experience in the MICE industry.

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