ATHENS – Coming off a near record year in 2022 for tourism – the country’s biggest revenue engine – Greece is looking to another smash in 2023 with advance bookings indicating interest.
The European Travel Commission (ETC) said that Greece is one of the countries Americans are most likely to visit in 2023, even more than competitors such as Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean destinations.
“With 94 percent of travelers ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their latest European summer experience, it goes without saying Greece will be busier than ever come July,” said the site Travel Off Path.
It recommended that the islands of Corfu, Milos and Rhodes were preferable spots then instead of the always-favored usual destinations for tourists such as Mykonos and Santorini.
Greece’s Tourism Ministry has been pitching the country as a year-round destination with attractions other than sun, sand, islands and beaches, such as sports, medicine, agricultural and gastronomy.
In the ancient town of Sparta on the Peloponnese, officials beckoned visitors to come for its food promotion and to try local products, announced during the 1st Gastronomy and Tourism Forum.
There was discussion about creating a registry with local producers and incentives for professional clusters and joint initiatives between tourism enterprises such as hotels and restaurants with local farming business owners and producers.
“Our goal is to showcase the Sparti culinary experience and to include gastronomy in our tourism marketing plan,” Deputy Sparti Mayor for Tourism and Public Works, Georgia Zaharaki told the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA of the effort being made.
She said that “Local stakeholders want the culinary identity of each destination to be certified, to be linked to local quality agreements under which providers will be certified based on quality and receive special certification labels.”
Products travelers seek out when visiting Sparti, include the locally-produced “siglino” smoked ham and sausages, olive oil and wines made with local grape varieties as well as local pies and dishes, said GTP Headlines.