Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday announced the ministry’s strategic goals for the 2020 tourism season, which are hoped to lead Greece to see a 10 percent increase in tourism revenue and a 4.5 percent increase in the average per capita expenditure of international tourists.
“In recent years we have been seeing a gap regarding tourist arrivals and revenue; we see an increase in arrivals, but not an increase in revenue… this gap must close,” Minister Theoharis said during a press conference while citing 2018 data for Greece from the UNWTO, which ranked the country in the 13th place in terms of arrivals and in the 24th place in terms of receipts.
Meanwhile, Greece is behind its competitors in regards to the average per capita tourist expenditure.
“With the regional average at $800, the average spending of each tourist in Greece is $570,” he said.
However, judging from the recent positive data of the first 11 months of 2019, Minister Theoharis sees postive signs and said the ministry is aiming for a rise in all tourism figures this year.
During the 11-month period to November 2019, travel receipts increased by 13 percent, driven by an 8.7 percent rise in average expenditure per trip and by a 4 percent rise in inbound traveler flows.
Ministry aims for growth
According to Theoharis, the ministry will aim for Greek tourism in 2020 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.
He also added that the ministry’s strategy is also aiming to attract more tourists in the shoulder months of April, May, September and October.
Presenting the data for 2019, Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas said that Greek tourism revenue during the January – November period reached 17.8 billion euros from 15.8 billion euros in 2018.
“This enables us to make the safe estimation that Greece’s tourism revenue will exceed 18 billion euros in 2019,” Konsolas said, referring to a 12.6 percent increase compared to the country’s tourism revenue in 2018.
“This is a top performance for our country as Greek tourism also contributed to the growth of over two percent of the country’s GDP in 2019,” he said.
The tourism markets that brought the most revenue to Greece last year, according to Konsolas, included Germany (2.5 billion euros), the UK (2.3 billion euros), the US (1 billion euros).
Moreover, Konsolas said that the average spending of each tourist in 2019 amounted to 559 euros, up by 12.3 percent compared to the previous year.
The deputy minister also referred to Greece’s seasonality, which causes a major disadvantage to the country’s tourism sector.
“Tourism in Greece must be a four-season activity and a strategic goal (of the ministry) is to extend the season,” he said, adding that every Greek region must make efforts to be included on the country’s “tourism map” as a destination.
Currently, out of Greece’s 13 regions, only five attract the majority (87 percent) of the country’s incoming tourism traffic.