ATHENS – Greek tourism officials in the public and private sector patted themselves on the back for how the sector has contributed to the country’s economy as the biggest revenue engine, coming back big from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greek Tourism Ministry honored a number of key figures in the industry that brings in as much as 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 200.53 billion euros ($214.9 billion) and brings in more than 30 million visitors.
“It is our obligation and our great pleasure to honor those who we at the Tourism Ministry consider to be the protagonists of the last tourism season and those of the past years in Greece,” Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said during an awards ceremony in Athens, reported GTP Headlines.
They were Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos; , Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos; Hellenic Hoteliers Federation President Dimitris Koutoukis, the Secretary-General of the Panhellenic Federation of Employees in F&B and Tourism (POEET); Piraeus Port Authority President Yu Zenggang; Thessaloniki Port Authority Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications Theodora Riga and Athens International Airport CEO Yiannis Paraschis.
“During the most difficult moments of the pandemic and when everyone doubted whether Greece could withstand the pressure when it opened to tourists (due to the Covid restrictions, rules and protocols), the contribution of the private sector, along with its professionalism, support and mutual understanding, was exemplary… The president himself really had our back,” Kikilias also said.
Retsos said, “This award belongs to the entire tourism world, workers and entrepreneurs, who took risks and innovated so that today we can look towards the future with a vision and optimism, as one of the world’s leading tourism brands.”
Vassilikos added: “We mustn’t forget how we were when we got into this crisis and how we are getting out of it… I want to thank those present here and for the difficult but good cooperation we have had all these years proving, not only as an industry but also as a country, that we can respond to crises.”
Tasios said that, “This award belongs not only to Greek hoteliers, but also to all Greeks who really believe that tourism – and hospitality in general – is what makes the country go forward.”