International arrivals to Greece set to grow for fifth consecutive year

After experiencing robust growth in 2017, the Greek National Tourism Organisation has announced a new tourism growth plan for 2018.

Greece’s Tourism Minister, Elena Kountoura, announced at WTM London that 2018 had been the best year for her nation’s tourism industry, topping four years of continuous and steady growth.

Greece is known for its picturesque beaches and beautiful islands making it one of the most popular destination summer destinations in Europe. However, it is more than just a summer sun destination, with exciting new routes opening up the country is a 365-day a year destinations with a diverse offering of holiday choices including skiing.

Over the winter, Greece has been encouraging visitors to pair a city break with a day or two’s skiing. “People can forget that the Greek mainland is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe – we have 19 ski resorts and many of them are close to Athens or Thessaloniki,” said Emy Anagnostopoulou, the Greek National Tourism Organisation’s UK & Ireland Office Director.

The growing number of flight options also means Greece is expanding its tourism at the “shoulder” months at the beginning and end of the summer season with a new range of soft adventure options.

Many regions and islands in Greece – including Andros and Tinos – are using their mountainous territory to develop and further promote walking trails to attract visitors outside the traditional summer months.

At WTM, Minister Kountoura said Greece’s tourism industry had “performed a small miracle” for the nation’s economy, which has grown 2.1% in 2018 and is expected to grow a further 2.5% in 2019, its highest rate of growth for 10 years.

During her press conference, Minister Kountoura presented Greece’s new growth plan, aiming to enrich Greece’s offering in high-quality infrastructure and services and make the country’s tourism product “even more competitive in the global travel market”.

Greece’s new tourism growth plan includes the launch of special programmes to increase capacity and upgrade the quality of 4- and 5-star hotels and also attract new investments in health and wellness, golf, MICE, sports and recreation, and theme parks.