(Greece) – Elena Kountoura, the Tourism Minister in Greece, talks about how important tourist development is to the country as a whole in an inverview with Tui Online Media. Tui is a major travel company that runs many comprehensive travel packages throughout Greece, including the popular island of Crete. Most of these tours are taken by Europeans from companies like Germany and Switzerland. This company mainly services Greek trips from the German market, which has seen a lot of growth over the past few years.
Kountoura has said that Greece focuses on welcoming its visitors. According to the interview, “We have a very personal welcome for every visitor. We invite them to a journey of authentic highly- personalized experiences and we encourage them to expose themselves to the many choices that we offer and that we can spoil them with.”
She goes on to say that Greece offers a lot of opportunities for travelers to enjoy. According to the interview, “The exquisite landscape, rich history and culture are the timeless elements which we maintain with the utmost respect in terms of sustainable tourism, and which we enhance as we develop new tourism products of special interest and new Greek destinations.”
Greece has been in a recession since they received their first bailout in 2010. Currently, tourism makes up about 18.5% of the total GDP in Greece and it is one of the country’s largest industries. In fact, tourism’s importance since the recession hit has only increased. For instance, in 2010, tourism made up 15.5% of the GDP. The tourism industry is a good source of revenue for not only members of the workforce who service the industry, but also for the Greek government through taxation. In fact, tax increases have also impacted the tourist industry in an effort to bring more revenue into the Greek government. Greece’s international creditors have said that Greece needs to decrease government spending and increasing revenue and tourism is one of the ways that they plan to do that.