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Tourism

Tourism Seen Greece’s Revenue Savior for 2022 During Pandemic

ATHENS – Greece’s biggest revenue engine – tourism – will propel a further economic comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic with bigger numbers of arrivals and revenues seen for 2022.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Open TV that the “early bookings for the spring and summer of 2022 until the end of the fall started at the beginning of the year and are constantly increasing.”

He also noted that cruises were starting on March 1 instead of mid-April, with the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki becoming home ports, adding that, “We are being asked to extend them until the end of autumn.”

Tourism brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product of 177.35 billion euros ($200.3 billion,) and was on a run of consecutive record years through 2019, bringing in more than 30 million visitors, three times the country’s population.

While the push now is toward luring visitors to come year round, the warmer months are still the key and see the most arrivals with the hopes that 2022 will see more coming, including those from countries barred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In an article published on cnn.gr, Kikilias underlined the importance of the sector as both a driver of the Greek economy but also for its contribution to the survival of the “average Greek family during times of crisis.”

He also said that the ministry hopes to extend the tourism season, distribute visitors to lesser-known destinations, attract higher-spending markets, promote cruise travel, attract tourism investments, and set conditions for sustainable tourism practices.

He said some 320 million euros ($361.4 million) in European Union COVID recovery funds will go into dozens of projects, including creation of destination management entities, promoting mountain, health and wellness tourism, agritourism and gastronomy as well as into port modernization and projects to ensure accessibility for disabled travelers, said SchengenVisaInfo.com.

Earlier in January, the Bank of Greece forecast a 7.2 percent growth rate for the economy, including 5 percent in tourism as the country is trying to claw its way back to the 2019 levels.

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