Greece used World Travel Market to plug itself as a year-round destination and outline its plans to keep tourism sustainable in the future.
Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura said tourism accounts for more than 20% of the country’s GDP is behind one million Greek jobs and is the spark for major infrastructure projects.
The country has extended its summer season so that it runs from March to November.
Briefing reporters at WTM in London, she said: “Our goal is to provide you with a better understanding of Greece. Our strategy for Greece, with its long-standing history and tourism legacy, is to become a global 365-day destination and we are promoting all the authentic, one-of-a-kind travel experience that Greece offers year-round.
“At the same time, we shape our future for sustainable tourism growth for all in the coming years. Tourism is a priority for the Greek government. In the last few years it has emerged as the engine for growth in the economy.”
So far in 2017, 2.9million British tourists have travelled to Greece and that figure is expected to surpass three million by the end of the year.
Kountoura said there had been an additional 1.2 million seats on scheduled flights from UK airports to Greece introduced.
“We are pleased to see the growth in the UK, which is one of our traditional markets,” she added but also said Greece had enjoyed increased arrivals from India, China, South Korea and the Middle East.
Overall visitor numbers to Greece were upwards of 28 million, including cruise passengers, she said – adding that the country has recorded “record-breaking results” for three years in a row.
Kountoura said Greece’s annual growth in visitor numbers was 7%, higher than the 4% global average.