Airlines have increased the number of seats to Greek destinations for 2022 from 30 percent to 50 percent of pre-Covid 2019 levels, said Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, expressing his confidence that 2022 will be a good year for the industry.
In an interview to Ethnos, Kikilias said the ministry was implementing a plan that focused on creating added value with new products supporting in this way traditional and dynamic sectors and ensuring tourism remains resilient during and after the pandemic.
Greece, he said, managed despite the health crisis to win over travelers’ trust. “Visitors and tourism professionals in Greece and abroad trusted us, because we set a clear framework on how, when, and in what ways the country would open to tourists,” he said, adding that tourism-related revenues exceeded 10 billion euros in 2021, far above the goals of the year.
Looking ahead, Kikilias said “the messages for the new year give us space for optimism, always of course, in the fluid environment caused by the exacerbation of the Omicron variant”.
In this direction, Greece had entered several agreements with tour operators, airlines and cruise companies. Indicatively, bookings made in October for the summer of 2022 were 30 percent higher over October 2018 bookings for the summer of 2019, he said, adding that cruise travel is up by 200 percent for itineraries to Northern Greece and Thessaloniki.
Greece takes action to attract digital nomads
Kikilias went on to note that on the back of the Covid pandemic, Greece focused on attracting digital nomads through initiatives to run in Ermoupolis (Syros), Heraklion (Crete), and Kalamata.
“With the cooperation of all [stakeholders] Greece can become ‘Nomads Land’,” he said. “We are tapping into new technologies and creating the opportunities to expand tourism options in another, different way.” Among these, encouraging responsible tourism, said Kikilias, adding that the ministry was focused on expanding the season and introducing authentic Greek experiences in addition to sea & sun.
All of the above, the minister said have been included in the National Strategic Plan for Tourism Development 2030, which taps into EU Recovery and Resilience funding to develop among others accessible tourism products, connectivity, sustainable infrastructure, destination management and experiential tourism options, updated tourism education and training, investor-friendly legislation, and tax framework and crisis management.