(Greece) – According to the Alternate Tourist Minister in Greece, Elena Kountoura, tourism arrivals have increased by 5%. She said this in an interview to AMNA radio, Praktoreio 104.9 that she gave a few days ago. She also went on to say that considering the various situations in Greece, such as the economic and refugee crises, this is looked to be a fairly sizable increase.
During the interview she said that, “The tourist period has been extended from early April to late November and we have opened new destination with direct flights from traditional markets as Britain and Germany as well as from new markets. We opened the markets of South Korea, China and the Middle East and we can see the results because the islands are full of tourists from these markets. We hope that 2016, that started so positively, to close positively in revenues and arrivals because there are variable factors that we can not control.”
She also went on to explain that, “Our vision is to have tourism throughout the year.” Currently, the Greek tourism industries relies on the time period between May and October, to generate all the revenue for the year. Peak season typically lasts from June to early September. However, since many parts of Greece experience great weather year round.
Tourism is currently one of the largest industries in Greece. Currently, it makes up about 18% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Greece has been in a recession since before the first bailout, which took place in 2010. Greece recently received its third bailout since that time. The first payment came through about a month ago, and the money is being used to pay off loan balances to the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. The Greek government is looking at tourism as a way to help stimulate the economy once again.