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Greece Counting on Marine Tourism to Support the Economy

Photo © GTP

Photo © GTP

Greece is counting on marine tourism to create added value for the Greek tourist product, opportunities for growth, and new jobs for local communities, said Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development Olympia Anastasopoulou, during the 5th Mare Forum Mykonos.

Anastasopoulou said marine tourism could serve as a powerful driver of the national economy with an estimated contribution of 1.4-1.5 percent to the country’s GDP. She went on to add that the sector’s indirect contribution is four to five times greater.

Crucial to further growth is the improvement of port and marina infrastructure, which Anastasopoulou said is at the center of a new ministry marketing strategy which also aims to accelerate upgrade procedures. In this direction, the ministry’s Tourist Port Committee will be convening to speed up decisions concerning nine ports in Greece.

Greek Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development Olympia Anastasopoulou.

Greek Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development Olympia Anastasopoulou.

Lastly, Anastasopoulou said the ministry was focusing actions on ensuring sustainable tourism development on the islands. She said the priority now was to take into account the carrying capacity of each island, the available energy and water resources, waste and water management capabilities as well as special ecosystems, species and landscapes that must be preserved in order to ensure a balance between tourism and local standard of living.

“The carrying capacity of the islands is inextricably linked to sustainable tourism development and the reduction of the natural, economic and socio-cultural impacts caused by phenomena of overtourism which create significant adverse effects on the level of visitor satisfaction,” she said.

In this direction, Anastasopoulou referred to the importance of a bill tabled in parliament last year by the ministry which outlines the terms for the operation of destination management and promotion organizations (DMOs) which will be funded by RRF funds and can focus on tourism development, viability and sustainability, the protection of the natural environment at each destination, the promotion and management of local quality marks, the possibility of establishing observatories of sustainable tourism development, “with the ultimate aim to preserve the natural and cultural wealth of the country”.

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