Greek Gov’t Aiming to Take Tourism Sector Into a New Era
Greek PM: Gov’t priority tourism carrying capacity, ‘Greener’ infrastructure
Expressing his satisfaction with the unprecedented success of the 2022 tourist season, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Sunday, actions that will take Greece’s tourism sector into a new era.
Addressing the press during the 86th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Mitsotakis admitted that the carrying capacity of some island destinations – such as Mykonos and Santorini – had reached its limit.
“We will definitely have to deal with this challenge and make sure that we will not have significant environmental, residential, social impacts at other destinations that are developing at a very high speed,” he said.
The prime minister stressed that sustainable tourism development focusing on environmental protection and ensuring tourism-related revenues are fairly distributed across the country were the government’s top priorities as was extending the tourism season beyond the traditional summer months.
“New destinations, destinations 12 months a year. And we still have enormous potential,” he said.
To achieve this, the PM said he would be working closely with tourism bodies key among which the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) to create a sustainable future for the sector over the next five to 10 years.
Mitsotakis referred to other bright examples of sustainable tourism growth such as the island of Tilos where sustainability and a circular economy were setting the example for other islands to follow.
“Tilos is a great example where we tried out a pilot program centered on reuse, recycling, reduction of waste. We have the financial tools to expand such programs to many islands,” he said.
“Green energy on our islands is potentially much easier, especially on smaller islands. And we already have many initiatives developing in this direction. So there is no question about it: sustainable development is a one-way road”.
Among other actions, Mitsotakis during the 86th TIF said his government would be:
– extending further the “Tourism for All” program which subsidizes holidays for low-income Greeks,
– increasing the minimum investment requirement for the acquisition of a golden visa (investor visa) from 250,000 euros to 500,000 euros,
– launching a 52-million-euro marketing program in collaboration with the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), airlines and tour operators for the promotion of the country year round,
– and reducing a levy to 24 percent for new constructions in the sector through to 2024.
The prime minister also referred to actions taken under the “North Evia – Samos Pass”, voucher scheme which supported Northern Evia, ravaged by forest fires last year, and Samos, which has been dealing with the refugee influx over the last few years.