A unique combination of landscapes, a country suitable for both summer and winter holidays, full of monuments and archaeological sites of global historical interest, as well as lively islands and cities perfect for short getaways at any time of year.
Ambrosial flavors and fusion dishes perfectly balanced between traditional and modern cuisine. Fine products harvested directly from the Hellenic land, literal vitamin bombs! Award-winning wines and liqueurs from the Greek vineyards earning a place under the global spotlight. Newly built 4- and 5-star hotels along the coastline, offering top-quality service to citizens of the world who want to make the most of their precious vacation time for themselves and their loved ones. This is Greece. A destination with a vast range of options among which every visitor can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Despite the economic uncertainty of the last few years, Greece has seen significant growth in both tourism arrivals as well as receipts.
The introduction of self-catering accommodation brought better results for the tourism sector overall while putting significant pressure on small boutique hotels and rooms for rent to implement more investments, not only to carry out renovations, but also to offer higher levels of services for travel-savvy and demanding customers.
Is this enough though for the long-term prosperity of the businesses and people who rely on tourism to make a living?
Yes, but on one critical condition: that Greece defines and implements a medium-term strategic plan that will allow the country to stand out from the competition and ensure sustainable growth irrespective of geopolitical factors in what is a turbulent neighborhood, primarily around and over the Aegean Sea. In recent years, the overall impression was that Greek tourism has been running on autopilot, mainly based on the foundations laid in the early 2010s as well as the exploitation of uncertainty in terms of safety in the Middle East and North Africa.
Still, experience and commitment are inherent among the leaders of the tourism industry in Greece, along with philoxenia (a love of offering hospitality to the foreigner/stranger), one of the main characteristics of Greek culture.
Special focus should be placed on two main areas: infrastructure and services.
The recent privatization of 14 airports around Greece serves as a guarantee for improved services and a better first impression for our valuable visitors. Along with the long-awaited launch of the strategic project involving the development of the old Athens airport at Elliniko on the city’s southern coast and the upcoming privatization of marinas around the country, important steps are being taken toward upgrading key infrastructure and entry points for tourists.
Significant concessions for the construction or completion of new, modern and safer highways are also in progress too.
Given the above, people from all over the world have every reason to visit Greece, not just once, but again and again. A consistent marketing plan depicting all of the country’s competitive advantages would be the best tool to penetrate markets and groups.
The landscape, along with the Greek philoxenia will do the rest.
Let us work hard then to accomplish a challenging goal: turning Greece into the top destination in the world.
Fotis Karydas is a journalist.