AT WTM the Greek National Tourism Organisation provided an update on the latest developments within the destination and progress made since its inception of a new tourism strategy.

Elena Kountoura, Greece’s minister of the tourism, projected the destination’s long term strategy, saying: “With its unique branding and long standing tradition in hospitality, Greece is set to become a global and attractive 365 destination. We now promote all the authentic one-of-a-kind travel experiences that Greece is able to offer year round and simultaneously shape our future for sustainable tourism growth in upcoming years.”

Tourism was noted as a top priority for the Greek government thanks to its recent emergence as an engine for growth to the nation’s economy. This led to the implementation of the national tourist policy in 2015 which focused on five strategy pillars, including: the extension of the official summer season from March to November in several destinations; reasserting its presence in traditional markets; increasing tourist packages and connectivity; promoting new Greek destinations and developing thematic tourism products and new travel experiences; and attracting new investments. The results of these implementations are reportedly already being seen.

The destination has received record breaking results in all tourism figures for three years in a row. The tourism organisation highlighted that in 2015 international arrivals, including the cruise sector, exceeded 26 million and that in 2016 it exceeded 28 million with an annual growth rate of approximately 7%, beating the average 3-4% for global tourism. It is hoped that international arrivals will reach 30 million tourists.

Kountoura continued: “From the UK we estimate that almost three million British tourists prefer our country for their vacation. We are very pleased to see a continuous growth from the UK, one of our two main traditional markets and in 2017 arrivals continued to grow strongly.

“With a goal for tourism 365 days a year, the ministry of tourism is implementing its national and regional tourist policy in close co-operation with local administrative regions across Greece with an aim to turn Greece into an exemplary year round destination focusing on preserving the rich natural and cultural heritage while engaging actively with the local community creating new jobs and new tourism activity, promoting sustainability and prosperity for all.”

Pictured is Panos Papadopoulos from the Greek National Tourism Organisation who was on hand to welcome Tuesday's WTM visitors to the stand as the tourist office hosted 'A Taste Of The North Aegean Islands'. Visitors had the chance to enjoy regional wines and local delicacies, meet exhibitors from the North Aegean Islands and win prizes.

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