Greece’s tourism minister, Elena Kountoura, is expecting another record year in 2018 as the momentum grows stronger than ever, with forecasts of an additional 2 million visitors set to flock to Greek shores in the coming months.
In an interview to the Athens News Agency, Kountoura said this year’s tourist inflow is set to increase by 2 million visitors according to pre-booking figures compared to last year with the country’s destinations ready to meet the growing demand thanks in large part to the investments in the sector over the 2015-2017 period which boosted hotel capacity by 25,000 new beds.
The minister went on to note that in the first quarter of 2018, international arrivals rose by 20 percent with many traditionally “summer” destinations winning over winter travelers. Indicatively, Crete, a summer favorite, saw tourist figures in the first three months of the year increase by 800 percent or 50,000 visitors.
The aim this year, Kountoura said, is to boost incoming traffic by over 10 percent. In this direction, the ministry is promoting new destinations, investing in theme-oriented products and reaching out to new markets while pushing for tourism all year round, which is at the core of its national tourism strategy.
Kountoura also referred to the ministry’s cooperation with the regions of Crete and the South Aegean for the pilot “Tourism 365 Days a Year” program, as well as its promotion of Athens and Thessaloniki as unique city-break options.
For Kountoura, visitor figures must grow in parallel to revenues which in turn will pave the way for additional investments and upgraded infrastructure. Key to this is ensuring availability to meet the demand throughout the year.