Greece is working hard to become a frontrunner in travel and tourism while ensuring the benefits are evenly distributed among the people, said Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias in an interview to Eleftheros Typos on Sunday.
The main strategy to deal with difficult times and periods of crises is to increase the disposable income of the Greeks.
“Tourism is the best way to protect the people from the consequences of crises as it returns the dividend of success to the average Greek family,” he said, adding that the industry brings one in four euros to the economy – or 25 percent of GDP – making it the main ‘popular economy’ of Greece.
“For months now we have been working hard so that Greece becomes a champion in tourism. It’s a national project that requires the cooperation of public and private sectors and the work force,” he said.
Kikilias said tourism revenues go directly to the real economy supporting sector professionals, employees, and business owners.
He went on to add that tourism is also the primary means of regional development, attracting key investments to remote islands or mountain regions and keeping the population through the development of the tourism product at home.
“Not only do young people have no reason to leave, but they return to their birthplaces. And the quality of our products is a comparative advantage in the race to attract visitors,” he said.
In the country’s sustainable growth drive, tourism leads the way, said Kikilias, serving also as a tool of environmental policy, raising awareness to the importance of the environment and its protection while maintaining balance.
“Investments in the green economy are dictated by the need to save and promote our basic tourism products, landscapes and monuments,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of the sector, Kikilias said tourism revenues also support entrepreneurship providing local governments and the state with the opportunity to invest in projects and services that reform Greece.
“Roads, ports, airports, hospitals, public spaces are being upgraded and thus the quality of life of both permanent residents and visitors is being improved,” he said.
Concluding, Kikilias said tourism was the key element behind the prosperity and progress of Greek society.