Greece is setting its hopes on tourism and on investments in the sector to create new jobs that will support local communities and families, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
“Our goal is to invest in tourism to create better jobs, increase income and lead to the prosperity of the average Greek family,” said Kikilias during an interview on Real FM.
The minister committed to support tourism professionals and family businesses and work with stakeholders to “resolve issues and prepare for 2022”.
Kikilias referred to 320 million euros in European Recovery funds that will be channeled into tourism, tourism development, upskilling and training, hotel upgrades, digitization of services, a tourism registry and other actions.
The minister also referred to the added value to be created through a series of tourism investments.
“Think of the leverage we are already seeing from domestic and foreign investments, small and medium-sized in tourism, accommodation, green accommodation, digitization, in the upgrades of 3- and 4-star hotels, 4- and 5-star,” he said.
The tourism sector has been a driving force of the economy during the pandemic, said Kikilias, attributing the achievement to the effective management of the Covid-19 crisis and to stringent health protocols which generated in 2020 a total of 4.2 billion euros and attracted 7.4 million visitors.
One year before the outbreak of Covid, Greece broke all records posting 18 billion euros in tourism revenues.
Looking ahead, the minister said forecasts had been revised from the initial 6 billion euros to 10 billion euros in revenues.
He went on to add that judging by September and October bookings, tourism revenue for Greece may even reach 12 billion euros this year in large part backed by extended airline flights to major tourist destinations, such as Crete and Corfu until the end of November, as well as to city break destinations Athens and Thessaloniki.