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Greece Announces Strategic Goals for 2020 Tourism Season

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday announced the goals the ministry has set for 2020 in order to maximize the benefits for the sector and the Greek economy in general.

“We have four strategic goals to reach in 2020, which will also be open for further development in the coming years,” the minister said during a press conference in Athens.

According to Minister Theoharis, the first goal is to promote sustainable tourism.

“I cannot overstate the importance of sustainable tourism, which is at the heart of what we want to offer. This is the way for us to respond to the challenges of the 21st century… this is the way to respond to the demands of the tourist of the 21st century,” he said, adding that as a green destination, Greece will gain a comparative advantage.

In its aim for sustainable tourism development, the ministry will create a certification framework and a sustainable development observatory. Plans also include improving the tourism infrastructure specifically on Santorini – one of the most popular destinations in the country – in order to properly manage the island’s tourist flows during high season.

Moreover, the ministry this year plans to diversify the tourism product to boost competitiveness; improve the education and skills of those working in the sector; and promote the Greek tourism brand and the image of Greece as a country.

In order to reach the announced goals, the ministry’s actions will include developing the country’s thematic tourism forms (diving tourism, health and wellness tourism, silver tourism, marine tourism, cruise tourism, city break tourism and MICE tourism); redesigning tourism education at all levels; focusing on markets with great potential (US, China, Saudi Arabia, India) and rebranding the country’s image.

With regard to rebranding Greece’s image abroad, it was announced that the tourism ministry will work alongside Steve Vranakis (Chief Creative Officer of the Greek government and Special Adviser to PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis), Marketing Greece and the GNTO.

Tourism Education

On improving tourism education in Greece, Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas announced that the relevant bill – which among other things will see to the creation of a University of Applied Tourism Studies – is expected to go up for public consultation next week.

“Tourism education must be updated in order to adapt to the challenges of the future and to offer extra value to our tourism,” Konsolas said, adding that the new bill can be considered the most important reform effort made in the field of tourism education to date.

“This legislative intervention aims to match tourism education with the needs of the economy of the future, but also with the new development model for Greek tourism,” the deputy minister said.

According to Konsolas, the new model of tourism education has been designed to adapt completely with the Greek tourism market and businesses.

GNTO launches Greek tourism campaign early

During the press conference, it was underlined that Greece’s annual tourism campaign launched very early for the first time in its history.

Greece – Always in Season, which launched on January 15, highlights the ministry’s strategy to extend the tourism season in the country.

“The aim is for Greece to have an strong presence abroad, especially in Western European and US markets, to attract early bookings,” GNTO President Angela Gerekou said, adding that the organization will use modern digital tools to promote Greece globally.

As part of the campaign, for the January – May 2020 period, Greece will appear in media including Euronews, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. The country will also advertise via Google, Tripadvisor and Twitter, while it will also be promoted through Mastercard to attract higher-profile visitors.

Moreover, Gerekou announced that the GNTO will hold roadshows to highlight various Greek destinations and their local features, and create a Greek Tourism Ambassadors network of volunteer celebrities in the area of science, art and sports.

The campaign’s first phase will run under an 8 million euros budget. Further actions will run after May.

According to Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, the ministry is aiming for Greek tourism this year to see double-digit tourism revenue growth by 10 percent, a five percent increase in arrivals, a five percent increase in overnight stays, a 4.5 percent increase in the average spending of each tourist, and a three percent increase of beds in 4 and 5-star hotels.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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