“We expect Greek tourism to remain at a steady level in 2019, after six consecutive years of growth [in terms of arrivals and revenues],” Retsos told GTP Headlines during the Delphi Economic Forum 2019.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a slight drop in arrivals in the future…it’s only natural… The next challenge for Greece is to find a way to retain this momentum in the long term,” he said, adding that SETE will have a clearer picture of the expectations for 2019 during the ITB Berlin 2019 tourism expo, which opens on March 6 in Germany.
Sustainability driving tourism competitiveness
Meanwhile, sustainability, according to Retsos, is considered key for Greece’s tourism growth.
“The aim for every significant tourism market, such as Greece, is to attract as many high-income visitors as possible. In order to achieve that, the country has to find ways to improve its tourism infrastructure and product, and make use of better promotional services. This is a big challenge, which we could meet through synergies between the private and public sector, as well as local communities,” he told GTP Headlines.
During the Delphi Economic Forum 2019, Retsos participated in a panel discussion under the theme, “Tourism policy for sustainable growth”, with Alain Dupeyras, head of the Regional Development & Tourism Division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
According to Dupeyras, sustainability is at the center of tourism competitiveness. “Aligning tourism growth with sustainability is a challenge because tourism is using many public natural and cultural resources,” he said.
“So, to make sure that tourism is sustainable, governments and the private sector have to think long term and adjust their tourism strategies accordingly,” he added.
The Delphi Economic Forum was held between February 28 – March 3, in Delphi, central Greece.