Targeted and efficient use of EU recovery funds are key to restoring tourism to Greece post-Covid-19, which will in turn bolster the economy, said Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis at a Delphi Forum tribute event this week.
Participating in a panel discussion on “recovery and resilience and management of Recovery Fund resources”, Theoharis said tourism can be the “doctor of the economy”. He referred also to “encouraging” arrival data for June 2021, which he said performed better than July 2020.
Theoharis also referred to the “multiple challenges” involved in putting EU recovery funds to good use. He underlined the significance of the industry’s digital transition which will bring added value to services provided as well as to the need of targeted training particularly important for small and medium-sized businesses.
The minister expressed his confidence that EU funds will help small enterprises grow in order to reach the European average, which will contribute to the Greek tourism product’s competitiveness.
He said it was vital that SMEs, which are mostly family-owned, “grow at a faster pace, enter the digital world and become stronger” because otherwise they will have “weak bargaining power against much larger tour operators and travel agents”.
Theoharis added that the funds will offer the much-needed leverage, the capital, and investment for change stressing that reforms are a priority.
With regard to the pandemic and to the emergence of new variants and the possible impact on the season’s tourism, the Greek minister said maintaining a healthy balance between safety, freedom of movement and the open market was an utmost necessity.
Lastly, Theoharis referred to the leading role Greece is playing in tourism developments across the EU, referring among others to the launch on Thursday of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
Speaking at the same event, Alternate Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis said that the “total of 19-20 billion euros Greece is set to receive from the Recovery Fund is estimated at creating leverage equal to 60 billion euros”.