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Minister: Athens Makes Strong Tourism Comeback

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias on Wednesday said that Athens managed to regain its share of tourists this season despite this year’s challenges.

“With hard work during a very difficult year with war in the heart of Europe, energy crisis and inflation, Athens was able to make a strong tourism comeback,” the minister said while speaking on Antenna TV.

Referring to revenues, Kikilias spoke of the positive feedback he received from the city center’s restaurant entrepreneurs and employees on the boost in turnover due to tourism.

“We are in the heart of the commercial life of Athens and the revenue from tourism supports the sector’s workers and Greek businesses including cafes, restaurants, mini markets and even bakeries,” he noted, reminding that the Greek tourism season already saw an extension considering that it began earlier than ever this year.

“We are working to extend the season to the end of the year,” Kikilias highlighted.

Citing AirDNA data he said bookings made for short-term rentals for the months of July, August and September have led to an increase of 26.5 percent compared to the same three months in 2019.

Moreover, Kikilias added that Greece is expecting some 5,000 cruise stopovers this year.

According to the minister, Greece’s tourism revenues are expected surpass 18.2 billion euros, which was the amount the sector generated in 2019.

The latest data from the Bank of Greece showed that a total of 7.98 million travelers visited Greece in the first half of the year, resulting to a total 5.126 billion euros in tourism revenue, just 287 million euros short of the January-June 2019 period (5.413 billion).

In efforts to extend the season, the minister said he will soon embark on a series of trips abroad, first to Germany and then Austria, France, Sweden and the UK, in an aim to attract visitors from northern Europe to spend their autumn and winter in the country.

“This will further extend the season, generate new revenues and at the same time allow our foreign visitors to spend a warmer winter in our country and save money,” he said.

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