After Uneven 2019, Greece Sees New Record 2020 Tourism Year

January 24, 2020

ATHENS – Greece is counting on another big bump in tourism for 2020 after forging ahead with plans to make the country a year-round destination and not just a summer fun playplace, relying on the sector to help speed a nascent recovery from a long fiscal crisis.

Tourism makes up as much as one-fourth of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 181.51 billion euros ($200.3 billion,) bringing up to to 45.37 billion euros ($50.07) in critical revenues and as Greece is facing strong challenges from rival tourism countries.

Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis said he expects continued growth despite the 2019 collapse of the British travel giant Thomas Cook, a major packager of group travel that has been a big cog in the industry for Greece.

Tourism also employs about 20 percent of the workforce of about 4.32 million people, with some 1.08 million working in the sector that has enjoyed a string of record seasons that was a critical buffer for the economic and austerity crisis.

Revenues in 2019 grew an estimated 12-15 percent from about 16 billion euros ($17.66 billion) in 2018 on the back of a 4-5 percent rise in arrivals, Theocharis told the Reuters news agency in an interview.

About 33 million tourists visited Greece in 2018, the year that three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($359.74 billion) ended, although there still hasn’t been a full return to markets despite the successful floating of test bonds.

The impact was initially estimated at 500 million euros ($551.75 million) and there were fears the repercussions would extend through 2020, as New Democracy took power in July 7, 2019 snap elections, ousting the Radical Left SYRIZA.

But Theocharis said the industry filled in the gaps and found other agencies to take over tour packages from Thomas Cook, with Greece still an alluring destination, especially with Athens picking up a buzz as a hot, if grimy, city.

“Despite the ups and downs, the surprises and the hurdles, 2019 rewarded us with a positive result,” he told the news agency. He added: “We are in a position to envision a new year with optimism that Thomas Cook has not left its mark, We expect 2020 will be better than 2019.”

He had also earlier said he wanted to make the country popular for attractions other than sun, sand, islands and beaches, moving into other areas such as sea diving tourism, which is currently restricted because of the many archaeological ruins in Greek waters.

“Greece has a strong brand and can win a big share of the market as long as economic and other conditions allow it.”


DUBAI — One of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it will allow "gaming" while announcing a multibillion-dollar deal with Las Vegas-based casino giant Wynn Resorts.

Top Stories


ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.


US Congress represenatives Gus Bilirakis of Florida and Nicole Malliotakis of New York – both Republicans – assailed President Joe Biden's administration for no longer supporting the EastMed pipeline project by Greece, Cyprus and Israel.


WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY – In the presence of distinguished guests, the vasilopita was cut by the Federation of Greek American Educators in the community hall at St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Washington Heights on January 23.


Democrats Eye Supreme Court Pick to Revive 2022 Prospects

Democrats stung by a series of election year failures to deliver legislative wins for their most loyal voters hope they'll be buoyed by the prospect that President Joe Biden will name the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.