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Tourism

No Fall in Greece’s Autumn Arrivals, Sports Tourism Push Made

ATHENS – Neither autumn nor winter nor cooler weather (it’s not here yet) can keep tourists from their rounds of seeing Greece as they keep pouring into the country deep into November on what could be a record-breaking path.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said the strategy of trying to lure foreigners to keep coming year round with different forms of attractions – sports tourism is coming next – is paying off.

He told Antenna TV that arrival and revenue figures have been steady with hopes they could surpass the 33 million people and more than 18 billion euros ($18.45 billion) in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic stopped that.

Kikilias said that spending per visitor in September increased 11 percent and arrivals at regional airports were up 14 percent over three years earlier and that October with just as good or better.

Besides wanting foreign visitors he said the New Democracy government wants Greeks and residents in the country to take trips around to islands and other destinations although soaring inflation has limited their spending power.

To help he said the ministry will give another 10,000 Tourism for All cards to low-income families to see Greece, particularly to winter destinations that offer skiing and attractions other than beaches and swimming.

A prime target, said GTP Headlines, was pensioners from Northern European countries to stay the winter by convincing them it’s warmer and cheaper in Greece than paying for heat where they live. Earlier, to promote that campaign, he visited Berlin, Vienna, Paris and Stockholm.

Now Greece thinks offering sports will be another key to getting people to come for reasons other than the traditional, it was noted at a conference held during the Philoxenia 2022 tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki.

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Secretary General Dimitris Fragakis said that globally the segment expected to generate $1.8 billion dollars by 2030 and that Greece could capitalize on that, the site said.

He said Athens would bid for a major international sorts event for September 2023 but didn’t say what it was, while Thessaloniki Tourism Organization Voula Patoulidou confirmed the Thessaloniki Nautical Club would be hosting the 420 & 470 Junior European Championships in 2024.

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