The Greek government is examining ways to support tourism enterprises that work primarily with Russian and Ukrainian travelers, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said this week.
In an interview to public broadcaster ERT on Thursday, Kikilias said efforts were being made to compensate for losses suffered by tour operators, travel agents and hotels reliant on the Russian and Ukrainian markets.
Kikilias said the Russian market accounts for a small percentage of total tourism to Greece, with approximately 50,000 visitors in 2020 and 120,000 in 2021 who generated approximately 300 million euros of the 10.6 billion in total last year.
“Tourism is currently the main source of revenue for 2022 for the Greek economy, for the average Greek family, for small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Kikilias.
Looking ahead, the minister said Greek tourism will continue to be resilient taking steady steps to cover losses created by the Russia-Ukraine war.
In this direction he referred to the opening of the Australian market after two years of Covid-19 isolation. Greece, he said, expects not only a large number of diaspora Greeks but also many Australian travelers.
He added that direct flights from Canada to Greece are set to begin on April 2 and nine direct flights daily from the US are already bringing over travelers from the US with the “prospect of seeing these increase to 3,000 travelers weekly”.
Lastly, Kikilias referred to efforts made this year to boost cruise arrivals. “This year, we’ve achieved a significant increase in cruise arrivals, an increase in the number of destinations, and an increase in home porting activity,” said Kikilias, adding that there are strong messages from the UK and French markets.
After 2.5 years of the pandemic, people need and want to travel and Greece will do its best to make this happen, said Kikilias.