* 18.5 mln arrivals expected in 2014 *
Marketing Greece, the initiative that is aggressively promoting tourism that saw near-record arrivals last year, launched its new interactive platform, www.discovergreece.com , during the ITB travel fair in Berlin last week.
Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), told delegates that the new web portal incorporates the latest technology and most up-to-date practices of electronic and digital communication to a global audience in an interactive environment, by creating a global community of supporters of Greek tourism. It also improves transparency, by presenting alternative booking systems and prices for the specific product.
The aim is to make Greece one of the top world tourism destinations by the beginning of the next decade.
“We have sustained our position as one of the leading contributors to GDP and – in a year that the country welcomed a record 17.9 mln international visitors who accounted for 12.2 bln euros of direct receipts – it is no coincidence that in 2013 Greece posted a primary budget surplus for the first time in a decade,” Andreadis said.
The number of visitors was 15% above 2012 figures and the target for 2014 has already been set at 18.5 mln international arrivals and 13 bln euros of international receipts, he said.
“We expect a stabilisation of business from Russia and Turkey following last year’s phenomenal growth in excess of 50%. We are monitoring recent events in the Ukraine that could further affect the Russian economy in the short term and its currency that has already depreciated by 25% over the last 12 months.”
“In our traditional markets, we are at this moment witnessing an increase of over 10% in bookings from the UK, France, Scandinavia, Benelux and the US. Another positive sign is that airlines have more than 1 mln additional seats scheduled to Greek destinations for this year.”
However, Andreadis said that the news from the German market was perhaps the most encouraging.
“Bookings are growing across the board at double digit rates. If this trend continues, arrivals from Germany could easily surpass the 2.5 mln visitor mark this year, compared to a figure of 2.2 mln in 2013.”
“In collaboration with the consultancy McKinsey & Co, we have developed a strategic roadmap. By 2021, we aim to exceed 24 mln international visitors, with a per capita expenditure of approximately 800 euros, which would generate direct annual revenue of 18-19 bln euros and a total of 48-50 bln euros, if one were to take the total effect of tourism in the Greek economy into account. These numbers would add an additional nine points to the country’s GDP and create 300,000 new jobs – at a time when tourism already accounts for one in five jobs in Greece,” Andreadis said.
The roadmap has identified six major tourism products – Sea & Sun, City Break, Nautical, Medical, Cultural Tourism and MICE – and a series of sub-products and niche services.
“In order to implement the roadmap and steer our sector towards achieving our 2021 targets, we launched a non-profit organisation in 2013 called Marketing Greece. This is a financially independent – privately funded – organisation founded by SETE, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Greek Association of Advertising and Communication Companies. The company acts as the official representative of the Greek tourism industry and aims to showcase the Greek tourism product by advancing a seamless cooperation between the private and public sectors, the government and local authorities.”
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