If Greece wants to be a leader in tourism, it needs to invest in its human resources and that’s a top priority in the post-Covid-19 era, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki during the Olympia Forum II held this week in Ancient Olympia.
Zacharaki said this year’s tourism performance, which peaked in August reaching 75.8 percent of pre-Covid revenue levels, was cause for optimism, adding that the next step is to tap into EU and national recovery funds and channel these effectively.
“We have 320 million euros ahead of us and a significant part of these funds will be directed toward human resources. If we don’t have trained manpower able to support all forms of tourism as well as our ambitious plans, then we won’t be able to win the bet for quality,” she said.
The minister announced that 46 million euros will be allocated to distance learning seminars set to kick off in 2022 offering training in cultural tourism and overall travel experience to some 5,000 people.
Zacharaki went on to add that funding will also be available through ESPA sources and public investment programs to support regional tourism development and local businesses.
She also announced upcoming legislation covering destination management activities, “which is essentially a synergy between regional authorities, municipalities, and other bodies”.
Lastly, she said a body will be set up to manage the country’s thermal spring facilities.
Zacharaki confirmed that bookings for Greece were still strong thanks to the mild weather and that average spending had increased by 20 percent “to 802 euros from 655 euros in pre-pandemic 2019”.