Tourism to Greece managed despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to generate approximately 4 billion euros in 2020, with government emphasis now on ways to address the challenges in 2021 that will require flexibility and coordination, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.
Addressing parliament on the 2021 budget, Theoharis said the decision to open to tourism after the first lockdown contributed to bringing down recession by 5 percent.
The minister went on to add that the pandemic hit Greece at the height of its best tourism performance at the beginning of the year, adding that given the unprecedented global circumstances, Greece managed to achieve its goals: “balanced cooperation with infectious disease experts and all bodies involved – private and public; ensuring the safety of tourists, employees, businessowners and residents; bolstering Greece’s brand name as a safe destination with promotional campaigns; and opening cruise activity, extending the tourism season and offering unprecedented financial support to domestic tourism”.
Looking ahead, Theoharis said the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) had launched for the first time a full competition (creative and implementation) for the country’s new advertising campaign. Additionally, new digital tools have been brought into play as well as a fresh policy targeting higher-income markets, such as Norway, Austria, Switzerland and opening up to the US, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Theoharis also referred to the establishment of Destination Marketing & Management Organizations (DMMO) laying the groundwork for the operation of ‘clusters’ for cooperation between the private and public sectors which will work to develop tourism options on a regional level.
Lastly, he referred to 2021 as an important year for Greece as it marks the 200th anniversary since the Greek War of Independence and provides the opportunity for Greece to re-introduce itself to the public.
“Whatever we achieved in 2020, the great challenges are ahead of us. Vaccination and rapid tests are changing the data. We will be able to welcome more people with even greater security. We are working intensively on an international level for this. However, competition will be relentless, both in terms of price formation and of services offered,” he concluded.