ATHENS – Fresh off being named the world’s best at the 2021 World Tourism Awards, the Greek Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization have set their sights on bringing back visitors even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That coincided with the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) expecting that by 2020 there will be 27 billion euros ($30.35 billion) in annual revenues and 307 million overnight stays by 2030, said Kathimerini.
That was based on the Hellenic Tourism 2030 study drafted by the Deloitte-Remaco consortium that sees resuming record runs of visitors and revenues for a sector that brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 180.6 billion euros ($200.3 billion.)
That fell off a cliff in 2020 when the pandemic raged and before vaccines allowed the reopening of tourism this summer with health measures in force and as the health crisis has continued, cutting into winter tourism hopes.
SETE will recommend to the government’s tourism partners a plan to lure people year-round with attractions different from sun, sand, islands and the summer weather that has been the main reason for visitors to come.
The tourism group also wants to get people to other parts of the island, not just Athens, Thessaloniki and islands and wants to showcase attractions including hiking, culture and winter activities.
The 2030 goal, it was cautioned, depends on no long-term affect from the pandemic once it hopefully recedes, and that there not again be an economic crisis or political volatility, the New Democracy government trying to lure more foreign investors to offset the effect of lockdowns.
The government also plans to invest more in tourism infrastracture at the same time that more 5-Star hotel and luxury resorts and chains are expanding with an eye on the wealthy, with celebrities bringing valued publicity in visits.
SETE also sets as priorities the digital upgrading of tourism, innovation and marketing, protection of the environment, and strengthening skills and entrepreneurship, the newspaper said.
The study said that there could be in increase in tourism from the record year of 2019 until 2030 up to 52 percent, that visitor numbers could grow 27 percent and the number of overnight stays by 32 percent.
Greek tourism can achieve such a result through relatively modest annual growth rates from 2023 to 2030, amounting to 6.2% in revenues, 3.5% in visitor numbers and 4% in overnight stays, said the report.
It would be a remarkable turnaround as well for the government tourism agencies that had long relied on word of mouth and not advertising or aggressive marketing campaigns before turning to that strategy.