Elena Kountoura Minister of Tourism
I warmly greet the opening of the 5th Athens International Tourism Expo, providing the opportunity to the Greek tourism market to showcase and advance our unique tourism product to international tourism professionals.
Tourism is a top governmental priority. With our tourism policy implemented since 2015 we aimed to establish Greece globally as an attractive 365-day destination and achieved unprecedented tourism growth.
With sustainable tourism growth being at the core of our policy, we increased inbound tourism by 35% in the last four years, with historical records in arrivals, revenues and all tourism figures. 2018 has been Greece’s best year in tourism. International arrivals recorded a double-digit growth and are expected to reach 33 million by the end of the year. Tourism revenue reached a new all-time record, with almost 2 more billion euros compared to 2017.
We are very pleased to see that this incredible tourism growth that we mobilized is reflected in increased turnover, higher profits and new business activity in our hospitality industry. Even more, the benefits spread to several other productive sectors such as trade and exports, transportation, construction and real estate. And by achieving these results, we attracted significant investment interest.
Greece emerged as the best opportunity in the Med and Europe for business development in its dynamic travel and tourism sector. Athens, which we promoted very strongly, is now a year-round destination, with historical records in arrivals, and was recently awarded the World Travels Awards for best European city-break destination in Europe for 2018.
We expect demand for Greece will continue strong in 2019 and we have set in place a concrete growth plan to maintain and empower our global standing in all coming years.
The Greek Ministry of Tourism, the GNTO and I personally support every initiative that creates new prospects for growth in the Greek hospitality industry and enhances Greece’s extroversion as a top choice globally for travel and tourism.
I wish every success to the 5th Athens International Tourism Expo and to its participants from Greece and abroad.