Opening up to new markets, increasing tourism revenue, attracting more high-spending tourists and promoting Greece as a winter destination, are among the main goals of the Greek Tourism Ministry for 2020.
“Achieving these goals will bring an increase in tourism revenue that will contribute to the country’s development,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said during a recent interview on the Parapolitika Greek radio station.
“Last year we achieved a significant increase in tourist arrivals, which is positive. But this should also be accompanied by a corresponding increase in revenue… Our goal is to achieve double-digit growth rates, in foreign exchange and in revenue,” Minister Theoharis underlined.
According to the minister, for the ministry to achieve its goals, it needs to focus on markets that are dynamic and on tourists that are able to spend more.
“Such markets are China, from where we aim to quadruple the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country. That is, in 2021 we are looking to attract 500,000 Chinese tourists,” the minister said, adding that other dynamic markets are India and the US.
“Already 1.2 million US tourists visit our country every year, a number we want to increase further. Our aim is to establish ourselves as a leading tourism destination not only for European markets but also for the dynamic markets of Asia and across the Atlantic,” he added.
Minister: Greece is a winter tourism destination
Moreover, the minister referred to the aim to establish Greece as a 365-day tourism destination.
According to Minister Theoharis, this can be achieved if Greece is promoted as a winter tourism destination.
“Our country is 80 percent mountainous, something that not many people abroad know about and we need to communicate this… Greece has beautiful paths for hiking, climbing, kayaking and other activities… The country offers many alternative tourism opportunities for all 12 months of the year,” he said, mentioning that Greece can offer much more than skiing during the winter.
When asked if the ministry is looking into the possibility of establishing an annual winter school holiday – dubbed “White Week” (which gives a four-day vacation period for school students) – Minister Theoharis said that the subject is not yet on the ministry’s agenda.
“In order for the tourism ministry to review such an idea, the Education Ministry, which is responsible for the matter, must make the necessary consultations with OLME (Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers), the hoteliers and all relevant stakeholders,” he said.