Greece has endured some testing times over the past year. It has bore the brunt of the global recession leading to bailouts and a raft of negative headlines. However, despite all of this the nation’s tourism industry seems to providing a ray of hope.
The Greek islands have long been a popular destination for British holidaymakers and recent figures have shown that we are continuing to visit in our droves. Elena Kountoura, the Greek minister of tourism, revealed that 18 million tourists are expected to visit the country in 2015, an almost 20 per cent increase on the 15.3 million recorded in 2014.
And what does Ms Kountoura put this rise down to? The British people and their “big hearts”. The minister told TTG that “they [British people] love Greece, the history and the culture and we have a great relationship”.
Ms Kountoura now wants Greece to capitalise on this popularity and make inroads in the city break market. She explained that Athens and Thessaloniki are being highlighted as potential destinations with the former seeing the opening of six boutique and luxury hotels in the coming year. The latter will be used to target the short break and LBGT market, meaning that a holiday to Greece is not all about the islands.
The main goal is to change the perception of the country that may have been unfairly portrayed in the media. With major economic issues and the influx of Syrian refugees, which Greece initially struggled to cope with, it had put the country in a bad light but Ms Kountoura is keen to reverse this view.
She stressed that authorities on the islands have resolved the refugee issue and now it is very much business as usual. The boost of tourist numbers means Greece can welcome more holidaymakers than ever.
A new tourism campaign is planned for early 2016 to promote the beauty of the country. It shows it is not all about the popular islands and there is so much more to the country than meets the eye.
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