Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias is expecting the increased tourist flows this summer to Greece to continue into the winter and this way extend the 2022 tourism season.
“We are receiving very encouraging messages from tour operators as there is a demand for travel packages (to Greece) for the whole of autumn and even for December,” the minister told Greek newspaper Kefalaio on Saturday.
Kikilias underlined that extending the tourism season is a goal the ministry expects to achieve considering that Greece began welcoming visitors early this year.
“Extending the tourist season was one of the main goals we set from the beginning and, as far as the start of the season is concerned, we achieved it,” he said.
2022 season started early
“When I welcomed the first direct flight from the United States to Athens Airport on March 7, earlier than ever, few believed that Greece would have a successful tourist season. It was the first days of the war in Ukraine, the pandemic was ongoing and the energy crisis was causing unrest on a global level,” the minister said, highlighting the fact that UBS, a multinational investment bank and financial services company, upgraded its estimate for growth in Greece from 4 to 5.7 percent, with tourism expected to be the main driver of GDP.
Moreover, Kikilias said that the ministry is focusing on more actions in order for the 2022 season to continue and wrap up as late as possible.
“And because it is crucial to always be one step ahead, we have long since began contacts aiming to attract Northern European and German pensioners to spend the winter months in Greece where the energy needs are much lower compared to their home countries. This way, they will save the money they would pay for heating if they stayed at home and at the same time they will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauties of our country and get to know Greek hospitality,” the tourism minister said.
Kikilias added that Greece managed to have a good season this year following efforts that began last fall and included agreements with American carriers for 63 direct flights/week from the US to Athens; attraction high spending travelers; promotion lesser-known destinations; investing in alternative tourism; and opening to new markets.
“This year’s result is due to our strategic planning which paid off… Had we not made these moves in time, the multiple crises of 2022 would have kept arrivals and revenues down,” he said, adding that this year’s tourism revenue has exceeded expectations and is giving a boost to the country’s development.
According to the latest data from the Bank of Greece, 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).
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