The Greek Tourism Ministry is planning to promote Greece’s special forms of tourism at the World Travel Market (WTM) London 2021 trade show, set to open its doors on Monday, November 1, at ExCel.
Greece is attending the WTM London expo having maintained a strong tourism performance in 2021 and with 2022 expected to be an even better year. Greece’s main stand at WTM London 2021 will be EU1100 – EU1150 and will host a large delegation, including regional tourist boards, hotels and resorts, travel agencies, operators and other players.
Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias will be present at the expo and on Monday will give a press conference at the WTM London’s International Media Centre for journalists, bloggers and travel professionals. He will present the latest updates from Greece with a re-cap of 2021 and a projection towards 2022 alongside new developments in the tourism sector.
Moreover, the Greek tourism minister will speak at the annual UNWTO, WTTC and WTM Ministers’ Summit, a platform for tourism leaders of the public and private sectors to share best practices and explore investment opportunities, on Tuesday.
WTM agenda: Greece to promote city breaks, high-end tourism, lesser-known destinations
According to Kikilias, at WTM London 2021 a special focus will be placed on promoting the country as a destination for city breaks and an ideal choice for high-end tourism, to all travel markets. Greece’s lesser-known destinations are also on the ministry’s promotional agenda.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Saturday, Kikilias said the ministry’s team will follow a multilevel and targeted strategy for Greece’s promotion at WTM London.
“We will promote our comparative advantages and also very attractive destinations that are lesser known to foreign visitors… We have amazing ‘hidden beauties’, beautiful islands and beaches in mainland Greece, which are all now very easy to reach,” the Greek tourism minister said.
He added that thanks to Greece’s climate, the official tourism season can run from spring to autumn, while at the same time the country has what it takes to be an all year round tourist destination.
“We will showcase the quality and high level of hospitality… Rest assured, we will make good deals for Greece in London,” Kikilias said, adding that WTM London is one of the most important tourism exhibitions in the world.
On overcoming Greek tourism’s seasonality, Kikilias told ANA that the ministry’s plan is twofold.
“On the one hand we will promote our cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, as popular city break destinations where visitors can combine cultural tourism, museums and attractions with excellent infrastructure in hotels, restaurants, cafes, high level shops and malls, but also unique night entertainment experiences,” he said.
On the other hand, Kikilias said, efforts are being made to attract visitors to “discover” the beauty of Greece’s traditional accommodation units in mountainous destinations, the magical scene of a small town by a lake, Byzantine monasteries and the Venetian castles.
Greece 2021 tourism performance, Plans for 2022 season
According to data provided by the minister, Greece is already proving itself as a year round tourism destination as in September hotels in the country recorded an occupancy of over 65 percent.
“Judging by bookings and taking into account agreements we have made for this period for some popular destinations, such as Crete and Rhodes, we expect to do well in November also,” he said. It is noted that German leisure airline Condor has extended flights to both Crete and Rhodes for the whole month of November.
Moreover, Kikilias said that the ministry has already started planning for next year and that initial responses from international target markets are very positive.
He mentioned France as an example, following the announcements made by Air France and Transavia to boost available seats to Greece in 2022. Transavia specifically said it plans to boost seats to Greece by 50 percent and also add Skiathos to its list of Greek destinations.
“Also, after ongoing meetings with British tour operators, travel agencies and airlines, we will have more flights and new destinations from the UK,” the minister said, adding that he is in ongoing talks with the US market regarding an increase in flights from America.
The ministry is also in contact with airlines from Germany on the possibility of increasing available seats to Greece by 30 to 50 percent.
“In this context, I have made it clear to Greek hoteliers, municipalities and regions, that we must be ready for the new tourist season from mid-March 2022,” he said.
Referring to Greek tourism’s performance in 2021, Kikilias cited the latest data of the Bank of Greece.
“From January to August, arrivals increased by 79.2 percent and receipts by 135.7 percent compared to the same period of 2020. If we take 2019 as a milestone year for Greek tourism, we now are at 50 percent of revenue in total, but with an upward trend towards the end,” he said.
During the first eight months of the year, the number of inbound travellers from the United Kingdom to Greece rose by 37 percent to 723,000 compared to 2020. Travel receipts from the UK during January-August recorded an increase of 75.2 percent to 787 million euros.
WTM London is an annual business to business exhibition for travel industry professionals and brings together the largest global industry gathering of destinations, tour operators, hotels, airlines, technology and online travel services under one roof.
The UK expo will run until November 3 at ExCeL, London, and will be followed by WTM & TF Virtual during November 8-9.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is an official media partner of WTM London.