Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is so certain that tourism will enjoy another record year in 2016 that he has challenged the head of the country’s tourism professionals, Andreas Andreadis, to a bet.
The president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) has accepted Tsipras’s proposed wager, which involves the loser paying for the winner to have a meal with a view of the Acropolis. While Tsipras says he is positive that 2016 will break the records registered last year, Andreadis expects a slight contraction in arrivals this season compared to 2015, due to the sector’s overtaxation and the delay in the completion of the bailout review. However, he made it clear he will do everything he can to lose the bet.
While tourism in neighboring countries (and competitors) such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia has suffered due to security threats, Greece has so far failed to benefit. In the first quarter of the year air arrivals from abroad grew by 9.2 percent year-on-year, while in Cyprus they rose 32.4 percent and in Spain 15.2 percent.
However, as many hotels in Spain and Cyprus have stopped taking bookings for the peak season this summer, Greek hoteliers hope to benefit from last-minute bookings by tourists seeking out secure destinations.