Greece’s impressive tourism performance has not left domestic and foreign investors indifferent, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said in Washington on Monday.
Attending the “Southeast Europe & East Med: New strategies, New perspectives” conference in Washington, Minister Theoharis gave a speech during a session titled “Unleashing the potential of Greece’s economy and the Tourism Sector”.
During his speech the minister underlined that tourism is a strategic sector that attracts foreign investment, stimulates employment and promotes regional development in Greece.
“Large hotel chains and companies are dynamically entering the Greek market, seeing its excellent prospects. Over the last two years, a total of 3.8 billion euros has been invested in hotel development and refurbishment, with 41.3 percent of total spending involving 4- and 5-star hotels,” the minister said.
Tourist arrivals in Greece last year increased by 9.7 percent compared to 2017.
Minister Theoharis estimates that 2019 will be a year that will break all previous records.
Greece’s tourism strategy
According to the minister, the main focus of Greece’s tourism strategy is to expand the tourism season and therefore will aim to:
– improve the competitiveness, quality, authenticity and resilience of the national tourism product
– enhance investment in high quality accommodation and hotel complexes with a low environmental footprint.
The minister then presented the pillars of Greece’s tourism strategy, which aim:
– to create high-quality infrastructure while improving the licensing framework and eliminating bureaucracy
– to continue to improve accessibility by strengthening air links and expanding/upgrading the national marinas network
– to make the tourism experience more attractive by enhancing sustainable destination management and tourism education
The minister underlined that the country’s tourism policy will have a positive impact on the national economy and create more and better jobs.
“The increasing trend of tourism worldwide, coupled with the comparative advantage of the Greek tourism product, offers an excellent opportunity for further development of the industry,” the minister said.
“The recovery of Greek investments backed by market-friendly policies serves as a guarantee of robust macroeconomic and business performance and an undeniable call for more investment projects in the country,” he added.
The “Southeast Europe & East Med: New strategies, New perspectives”, organized by the Delphi Economic Forum and the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini, attracted important leaders from different sectors of society who discussed strategies and a call-to-action for strengthening ties between the USA, Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
While in Washington, Minister Theoharis also spoke at the Atlantic Council, an American Atlanticist think tank in the field of international affairs. Addressing American officials, representatives of the Greek community and investors, the minister highlighted the prospects of the Greek tourism product.
Minister Theoharis also appeared on Bloomberg to speak about the investment opportunities that exist in Greece.
In addition, the minister held a meeting with Dan Mariaschin, CEO of the American Jewish Organization B’nai B’rith International and spoke about strengthening Greek-Israeli tourism relations.