Data for Greek tourism this year points to a great success and signals its strong comeback, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a special event held by the Greek Tourism Ministry to present the sector’s results this year, Mitsotakis said that arrivals for 2022 are expected to reach 88 percent of the record number in 2019 with revenues reaching almost the same levels achieved before the pandemic.
“Tourism is a ‘trigger’ for growth as although the Finance Ministry has originally estimated revenue to close at 15 billion euros this year, an additional 3 billion euros is expected to be added,” the PM highlighted.
During his speech, the prime minister made extensive references to the government’s efforts to keep tourism businesses afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some 3 billion euros were directed to tourist businesses for their survival,” Mitsotakis noted, adding that the great comeback of Greek tourism this year is taking place during an extremely difficult time due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the energy crisis.
Season extension: A victory
More into his speech, the Greek PM referred to the government’s success of extending Greece’s tourism season.
“This is a victory for Greek tourism. It didn’t just happen, but it was achieved… Many airlines have extended their flight schedule for the shoulder months from December to March. Last year the first plane of the season landed in March and this year it will land even earlier… And of course our cruise sector also extends the season in its own way,” he said, noting that some 5,000 more cruise calls, arrivals, are expected next year.
The PM stressed that Greece is gradually moving towards having a 12-month season and being referred to as a year-round destination – a destination ideal for a ‘Greekend’ (citybreak) during the winter, for cultural tourism experiences and for discovering new and untapped destinations.
Referring to the importance of domestic tourism for both businesses and Greek citizens, the Greek PM announced that the “Tourism for All” subsidized holiday scheme will also run in 2023
“The 12-month season shouldn’t just be about visitors, it should be about our fellow citizens. Not only because citizens, especially the financially vulnerable, should be able to take restful vacations but because domestic tourism has the potential to regenerate areas that have been through hard times,” Mitsotakis said.
Looking forward to an even more successful year
Mitsotakis said he is optimistic that the tourism sector will see an even better year next season.
“2023 is expected to be a landmark year for our tourism and this despite the great international uncertainty, the imported inflationary pressures…difficulties that will not end quickly or easily,” he said.
“We have good prospects ahead of us which we are called to conquer by activating our own strengths,” he said, adding that the government is planning to launch infrastructure projects in 26 destinations, aiming to offer an upgraded and sustainable tourism product.
Moreover, the results of this year’s tourism season and the prospects of the sector were highlighted by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.
Kikilias said the tourism sector in 2023 will continue to lead development for Greece and all of the Tourism Ministry’s actions are moving towards that direction.
Referring to the government’s aim to secure arrivals to Greece all year round, Kikilias highlighted that the GNTO for the first time will run a joint advertising program with airlines covering the months from November to March.
“Agreements for eight airlines to fly during these months throughout Greece are underway, in addition to the rest,” he said.
On her part, deputy minister Zacharaki highlighted that the aim for the sector will be to offer a quality, balanced and sustainable product with an emphasis on alternative forms of tourism with support from the Recovery Fund.
“2022 was another year for tourism in our country, with the consequences of the pandemic crisis, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, but we managed to turn the crisis into an opportunity. We were able to exceed 2019 air arrivals and beat numbers in our key tourist markets of Germany, England and France and increase the average spending per capita. This is a collective success”, said Zacharaki.
The event for Greek tourism’s successful 2022 results was also addressed by people active in the industry including tourist guides and those from the field of winter tourism, ski tourism, alternative tourism (organizers of mountain running and cycling races), wine tourism and trade.