Despite talk of Greece’s overdependence on tourism, the sector will seek its share from the Next Generation EU recovery fund and the 32 billion euros Greece stands to receive in grants and loans.
That is because the pandemic not only illustrated the economy’s huge reliance on tourism, but also made it clear that only enterprises that follow modern trends and requirements can be sustainable.
In their requests for financing from the recovery fund, tourism enterprises will focus on energy upgrade projects targeting sustainability and on digital transition and modernization projects.
The sector can also benefit from infrastructure improvements, allowing the country to close the gap with its fellow Mediterranean rivals. Hoteliers always repeat that the travel experience not only concerns accommodation but also the entire destination.
“Tourism activity must be perceived as an ecosystem of value chains driven by experiences offered by destinations, with each country being able to form its own unique chain of value and experiences,” Ilias Kikilias, general director at the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE), tells Kathimerini.
Greece’s main competitors, as INSETE has shown, are mature European destinations such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, “to which we are superior in friendliness, service, in accommodation, food quality and the sense of security, but we lag in matters mainly related to public infrastructure and the operation of destinations, such as cleanliness, town planning, the state of archaeological sites, information etc,” he adds.
“Consequently the further upgrading and maturing of the tourism product must rely on the pillars of sustainability, digital technology, the necessary public infrastructure including healthcare, and the efficient management and promotion of destinations as unique chains of value and experiences. Any enterprises, destinations or countries left behind will suffer a huge blow to their competitiveness,” Kikilias notes.
“The problem is therefore not in the impressive growth of tourism, but in the lagging of a significant number of economic activity sectors, many of which could also benefit from the further growth of tourism,” INSETE’s general director says.