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Travelers Back in Athens Boosting Business

Photo source: Region of Attica

Tourists have included Athens in their travel plans this year, giving a much-needed breather to small and medium-sized businesses, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias this week during a board meeting of Athens Chamber of Tradesmen directors.

Issues discussed during the meeting included forecasts and tourism trends, the positive effects of rising tourist arrivals on small and medium-sized businesses, the energy crisis and rising costs and the impact on tourism enterprises, establishing Athens into a tourist destination in its own right. 

“Tourism is a holistic product. We need to strike the right balance between residents, shops, visitors, but also the infrastructure that may be missing from the city center or in need of improvement,” said Kikilias underlining the importance of recovery for the Greek capital.

“The tourist product gives added value to our city and that’s why it’s important to preserve its quality,” he stressed, adding that at the same time revenues from tourism support not only the Greek economy, but also the Greek family and small business owners creating a “measurable result”.

Kikilias went on to underline the importance of linking the tourist product to all sectors of the economy and referred to ways the sector contributes to the development of local communities, supports the implementation of basic infrastructure projects, and attracts important investments. Key ministry actions in this direction, he said, include extending the tourism season and introducing new destinations to the world.

Lastly, the minister referred to the Covid-19 crisis, which he said, helped Greece redefine its tourist product but also thanks to the effective management of the pandemic helped the country rebrand itself as one for the world’s safest destinations for travelers.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias

Assessing the damages and looking ahead, Athens Chamber of Tradesmen (EEA) President Ioannis Hadjitheodosiou said he expected 2022 to exceed 2019 levels in terms of arrivals but revenue would still be lagging.

“In 2019, tourism generated 18.5 billion euros in revenues and the same industry, hit by the pandemic, suffered the greatest losses in 2020, which reached 80 percent. This year, we expect a very good tourist season that I estimate will exceed record 2019 arrivals levels, but not in terms of revenue due to price increases in energy,” said  Athens Chamber of Tradesmen (EEA) President Ioannis Hadjitheodosiou

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