2018: best year ever for Greece

By | Category: Travel news
Shipwrech beach in Zakynthos

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck beach) on Zakynthos in Greece.

That was what the Greek tourism minister, Elena Kountoura said when she was in London recently for World Travel Market.

Coming as it does after four years of continuous and steady tourism growth that is quite an achievement even though growth this year has only been 2.1% which will probably turn out to be about half of the average world-wide growth. But given the high cost of the euro for British holidaymakers and heavy competition this year from Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, the Greek tourism minister should be pretty pleased with that performance.

She announced a new pln which would include upgrading the quality of 4 and 5* properties, more investment in wellness and health attractions golf, theme parks and sports and recreation.

Cruising the Greek islands is very popular but the tourism ministry wants to capitalise on this popularity by developing more than six new ports for cruise ships to add to their itineraries.

As many other destinations proclaimed at World Travel Market, Greece should be viewed as year-round destination the minister said.


the bay at Lindos on Rhodes

The next ideas are that the tourism ministry is negotiating to increase the offering of travel packages throughout the year and to launch new direct flights from more foreign airports to more Greek destinations, as “connectivity is the key for tourism-growth”. So we can look forward to more direct flights to a number of Greek destinations direct from regional airports if the ministry succeeds.

In addition, the ministry is aiming to introduce new packages focused on travel to large and popular islands combined with smaller islands. There are more than 100 holiday destinations in the country and the ministry is aiming for tailor made experiences wherever possible.

Overshadowing this enthusiasm for the future is Brexit. Or is it?

Referring to the UK market as “a top priority” for Greece, the minister said that already bookings were up some 10% this year compared to 2017.

“In the nine months of 2018, air arrivals from the UK to Athens and all Greek airports were up by almost 9 percent and exceeded 3.2 million,” she said, adding that she expects the strong dynamic from the UK to continue for 2019.

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