Greece will focus on the UK with its first above-the-line marketing campaign since the financial crisis began in 2008 as it seeks to reclaim its place among the world’s top five destinations.

Tourism minister Olga Kefalogianni hailed a better-than-expected summer for arrivals after a troubled first half of the year and said: “We have not maximised our potential from the UK. Britons are looking for much more than sea and sun, and there is so much more to explore in Greece. It’s not just one destination.”

Digital marketing will dominate the campaign including a YouTube channel, but expect to see a more conventional campaign to coincide with the UK peak booking period in the new year, as Kefalogianni aims “to regain our position as a top five destination”.

The country will see two key parliamentary votes this week, first on a fresh austerity package and then on the government’s budget.

Kefalogianni said: “This is a challenging week. You cannot expect these kind of austerity measures to pass without any reaction. But the situation generally is more contained.

“If the budget and the austerity package are voted through this week, we will receive €31 billion in aid and it would mean the recapitalisation of the banks.”

She told Travel Weekly: “We are optimistic. This year started negatively, but after the June election, people started coming to Greece, and people are still coming now. We might end with a better year than 2011, which was a record one.”

Kefalogianni expects UK visitor numbers to end the year up on 2011, but she added: “Revenue is not the same.”

She insisted: “Greece is value for money and will remain so. We aim to bring back the numbers and become as competitive as several years ago. That is our goal. We lost some of our image, but not our essence.”