Greece eyes wealthier visitors

Greece hopes to raise the number of foreign visitors to 20 million within 10 years, up from a projected 14 million this year, sources said after an Inner Cabinet meeting yesterday which approved a plan to attract more tourists from the high-income brackets. The plan is said to include the formation of a committee comprising the ministers of tourism development, environment and public works, and economy and finance, which will aim to promote large-scale investments in the sector, and introduce incentives for withdrawing old hotels from service. It is hoped that two-thirds of visitors in 10 years’ time will be from the higher-income brackets. Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said he was also in favor of a flexible ministerial body that would coordinate issues relating to culture, zoning plans, and air and sea transport. Further, he argued that Greece has to rethink and expand its concept of tourism beyond that of summer vacations to include other activities that can attract foreign investment, such as golf, conferences, spas, sports, holiday homes, scuba diving and film productions.