Greece Targets New Markets to Mitigate Russia Losses
Greece is reaching out to new tourism markets for the year ahead as part of its strategy to mitigate losses incurred by the Russia-Ukraine war, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki and Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Secretary General Dimitris Fragakis during the Philoxenia 2022 tourism exhibition over the weekend in Thessaloniki.
More specifically, priority markets include the US, Canada, Australia, as well as countries in Latin America and the Middle East.
According to a panel discussion on the issue organized by the Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA), the tourism ministry hopes to balance the loss of Russian tourists who are a significant source market for mainly for Northern Greece. Among others, Zacharaki said new markets were increasing their presence and average spending.
“2022 proved to be a very successful year for Greek tourism given the geopolitical, economic and post-pandemic uncertainties that to a certain extent determined tourist movement globally,” she said adding that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused disruption, overturned plans, numbed the market and froze pre-bookings. “But there were no cancellations”, Zacharaki said.
Key to attracting visitors from other markets is diversifying the tourism product, said Fragakis, adding that the geopolitical circumstances have forced tourism stakeholders to be flexible and innovative.
“We reached out to the US and Canada in 2020, before the pandemic and this year the fruits of efforts were visible – about 600,000 Americans have visited Greece so far and direct flights are continuing. We are making efforts to open to the Latin American market, an excellent market and opportunity for Greece,” he said.
GNTO’s secretary general added that other outward actions include reopening the GNTO’s branch in Madrid, inking new deals with airlines connecting Latin American destinations with Greek destinations, and reaching out to Arab countries and to Australia and diaspora Greeks. In this direction, he announced that the GNTO would be opening a branch in the country in 2023.