Greece is taking hands-on action to extend the tourism season and open to tourists early next year, according to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
In a recent interview to Kathimerini newspaper, the minister confirmed that Greece was already in talks with British low-cost leisure airline Jet2 for the launch of flights starting in spring to Greek destinations including for the first time Athens.
Kikilias said ministry spending would now focus on promoting autumn and winter destinations many of which are on the mainland, supporting 12-month hotel units, and boosting city break tourism at major urban centers, which, he said, have suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister went on to add that talks will continue with other traditional and new strategic tourism and travel partners in the same manner as efforts made last year to increase flights from the US.
“Through our contacts with American agents, we’ve ensured that flights to Greece remain active until at least the end of this season,” he said.
Kikilias also said the ministry was prioritizing tourism training and education in efforts to create value added of the tourism product and of domestic human resources. In this direction, talks are already underway with French hospitality giant Accor for the establishment of a tourism academy in Greece as well as with other partners abroad such as TUI.
“Reskilling and upskilling in the tourism sector is our priority. Given that directly or indirectly about one in four euros comes from tourism, while investments being made or those which will be made in the near future, will create the need for many jobs. A significant percentage of these concern highly skilled jobs and therefore well paid,” he said.
Kikilias described tourism as the “steam engine of the Greek economy” adding that tourism-related revenue is expected to exceed 10 billion euros.