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Economy

Buzzz …. Red-Hot Spot Athens Awash With Autumn Tourists Too

September 29, 2022

ATHENS – No longer a jumping-off point to get to the islands, Athens has become a tourist lure with coffee shops, funky neighborhoods, and areas easy to walk, foreign visitors still packing the city as autumn has begun.

Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis has been trying to spruce up and beautify a city filled with grimy, gray concrete buildings and abandoned structures  – including now decrepit classical mansions covered in graffiti.

Despite its general unattractiveness, the capital has developed a reputation, especially among the young, for a kind of Bohemian allure in spots, including the anarchist neighborhood of Exarchia where there are clashes with riot police.

A delighted Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said efforts to make the city and country a year-round attraction are paying off, paired with still warm autumn weather which allows for swimming and extended island visits.

“Despite it being the end of September, Athens is still full of tourists from all over the world. The goal now is for October to maintain the same high levels,” he said, reported GTP Headlines.

That was during the 9th Investments in Greece & Development Prospects-2022 conference organized by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic Institute of Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development.

The benefits are many, he said, with tourism being the country’s biggest revenue engine bringing in as much as 20 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 205.58 billion euros ($200.3 billion.)

This year could be another record-buster, despite the waning COVID-19 pandemic, and is on a course to perhaps surpass the 20-billion euro ($19.49 billion) mark and more than 33 million arrivals.

“Dozens of professions flourish around tourism, from primary production and the commercial sector, to catering and tourism industry professions. We are mainly talking about small and medium-sized businesses that support and are supported by the tourist product,” he said, the site reported.

Investments & Developments Minister Adonis Georgiadis said the Greek economy this year will achieve a “triple record” of investments, exports and tourism revenue.

“This year we will have an all-time record in investments … in the first half of 2022 we had an 11 percent increase in investments compared to 2021 when we had a 30-year record,” the minister also said.

“Imagine what we could achieve if we had peace and tranquility like we did during the 2015-2019 period,” he said, the economy predicted to grow some 6 percent or more.

But that’s still not enough to lower the 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food, the government said, because the tourism euros are being used to help pay for 9 billion euros ($8.77 billion) in energy subsidies for households.

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