ATHENS – Greece’s biggest revenue engine – tourism – has been a saving grace as it kept soaring all through 2022 with the COVID-19 pandemic waning and that’s expected to last through 2023 with a push to lure visitors year round.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said all the signs are good as this year could end with a record surpassing 2019 the Coronavirus struck in March, 2020 and lockdowns and slowdowns brought international travel to a near halt.
Speaking in parliament during the debate on the 2023 national budget, Kikilias highlighted that tourism is the only sector of the economy that shows such a balanced distribution of produced wealth, said GTP Headlines.
“Through tourism, the primary agro-food sector is supported, as 88 percent of the food and beverage supplies of hotels are of Greek production,” he said, the benefits trickling down through the sector.
He said that in 2022 thousands of shops in all tourism destinations, as well as restaurants, mostly small-family businesses, in 2022 increased their turnover by a double-digit percentage compared to 2019.
Tourism is the biggest economic driver in the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 203.85 billion euros ($216.2 billion) and in 2022 is close to hitting or passing 20 billion euros ($21.21 billion) and employs nearly 1 million workers.
The government is counting on the sector to accelerate an economic recovery in 2023 after leading what’s expected to be some 6 percent growth in 2022.