ATHENS – Already welcoming tourists from China, Greece now is looking toward the world’s second-most populous country – India, with 1.38 billion people – in a bid to lure visitors from there.
To do it, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is boosting the Greek Embassy in New Delhi with more staff, as requested by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, to handle applications and ease visa conditions.
That was reported by Schengenvisa.info with Greece wanting to tap the vast potential of the huge Indian market while also reaching out to big spenders and trying to make Greece a year-round destination.
The Tourism Ministry said that Indian tourists rank first in the world in how much they spend on vacations – ahead even of high-roller Americans, Germans and Russians – and that’s what Greece wants: their money.
The World Tourism Organisation has stressed that Indians spend four times more money when abroad compared to the average Japanese and Chinese tourists, and 140 percent more compared to tourists from the United Kingdom and 71 percent more than those from the US.
While India is overwhelmed by poverty and low standards of living for many, there is also a big middle and upper class who travel and spend and Greece will pitch them with food, luxury tourism, culture and touring.
Kikilias said Indian visitors are looking for themed tourism and alternatives and not just the sun, sand and islands that beckon many to Greece, especially in the summer and high season.
“First we attract high spenders’ travellers, second, we extend our tourist season and third we ‘illuminate’ other, alternative destinations of our country, which until today were not very prominent,” Kikilias said.
Ironically, while Greece wants foreigners to visit Greece, many Greeks can’t travel within their own country for domestic tourism because of soaring costs of everything from energy and gasoline to food, limiting them.
To get more people around the world to come, Greece eased back COVID-19 health restrictions to almost none although the pandemic is lingering and people are still being hospitalized and dying.