Dispersing tourist traffic and the resultant revenues evenly across Greece, should be a top priority for 2020, said Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) President Alexandros Vassilikos this week in an interview to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA).
Vassilikos said extending traveler flows to destinations in all of the country’s regions is the biggest challenge for the tourism industry in the year ahead, citing a soon-to-be released HCH study which found that tourism revenue was concentrated in five of the country’s 13 regions in 2019.
Vassilikos underlined the importance of diffusing holidaymakers, particularly in view of forecasts for an additional 2 million travelers in 2020, which he said would have an impact on regions with existing infrastructure not designed to cater to the needs of so many visitors.
Addressing the issue should involve plans for efficient and effective management of the tourist flows as well as infrastructure upgrades, said the Greek hotel chamber chief, stressing the importance of Greece being ready to meet the emerging challenges.
“We must focus on improving infrastructure by turning to quality tourism so that any external changes affect us less,” said Vassilikos referring to geostrategic tensions in the region as well as to other factors such as Brexit.
Looking ahead, Vassilikos said challenges the Greek hotel industry must address include sustainable development and environmental protection.
This is a “transitional period”, said Vassilikos, with ‘green-oriented’ destinations and hotels taking center stage. He added that the HCH was preparing a relevant study.
On a final note, Vassilikos told ANA-MPA that thanks to the immediate response by the country’s tourism stakeholders and the ministry, greater damage from the demise of Thomas Cook was avoided. He did, however, add that certain destinations relying in large part on Thomas Cook arrivals still need government support.