Ancient ruins in Athens, Greece
Tourism has been steadily on the rise in Greece as 2017 saw 26 million tourists visit between January-September. 2018 is expected to surpass with a new record-breaking number of 30 million, making it of prime importance for hotels to stay up to date with technology. Made up of a cluster of islands including Mykonos and Santorini, this popular destination spot with its crystal clear waters, sandy white beaches and ancient ruins will see even more visitors in the coming years.
Vasiliki Mavrokefalou, General Manager of Greece & Cyprus, discusses the importance of the tourism industry for Greece’s economic future.
Luxury hotel in Imerovigli, Greece
How important is the tourism industry for Greece?
Tourism is extremely important to the Greek economy especially given the weak performance of most other economic sectors in the past few years. Greece is currently the 16th most visited country worldwide and 9th in the European Union. Just last year, the World Travel & Tourism Council saw tourism boost the Greek economy up to 6.9 percent, which supported nearly 1 million jobs, representing up to 20 percent of the country's GDP. One in five jobs created in Greece are related to the tourism sector.
Already 2018 has had a promising start, "early bookings began with a double-digit rise” shared Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism Greece. Since 2015, Greece has experienced a higher world average of growth rates per year at over 7 percent.
Many people visit Greece for its resorts and beaches, what other experiences can Greece offer to travelers?
While Greece is well known for its pristine beaches, culture is likely the powerhouse of Greek Tourism. The mere mention of Greece conjures up images of ancient ruins; archaeological sites are indeed among the Mediterranean country's top draws with the Parthenon temple and Ancient Olympia stadium—birthplace of the Olympic Games. Delicious gastronomy and numerous religious sites on top of its breathtaking landscapes are additional pluses to Greek tourism.
Local church in Tinos, Greece
Can you share some insight on Greece’s hospitality landscape?
Greece, although a small country, has around 25,000+ hotels alongside other types of accommodation. There is great variety in all segments of accommodation, with many offerings available from budget to luxury. Top prestigious brands have multiple properties in Greece, like Marriott, Starwood, Aman Resorts, Hilton, IHG and Accor. Apart from the various leading hospitality chains, there are plenty of distinguished, individual boutique hotels that many tourists prefer due to the excellent value for money, high level of services, and truly authentic hospitality.
Many people who visit Greece are from the EU, how could the country appeal to more international tourists and can handy aid this?
Over the last two years, Greece has successfully addressed challenges by implementing a new tourism policy focused on extending the travel season, opening new markets and attracting new tourism investments. New flights and connections in 2017 made traveling to Greece easier, including a daily, year-round service by Emirates from New Jersey to Athens, in addition to other direct flights and connections with the U.S, China, India, Russia and Israel.
Breathtaking views in Crete, Greece
handy can significantly aid Greek tourism with international tourists with its appealing host of features: free internet, local and international calls. Offering a multilingual guest-ready smartphone helps international travelers embrace language barriers. Through handy’s innovative technologies, Greek hoteliers will be able to offer guests 24/7 connection with their staff. LUXOS city guides also offer authentic, local travel experiences through advanced ticketing and on-the-go maps, so travelers can stay on track.