The 5th Athens International Tourism Expo (AITE) opened its doors to the public on Friday at the Athens Metropolitan conference centre, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization.
At the opening ceremony, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said that 2018 was a golden year for Greek tourism, with 33 million arrivals and a 2-billion euro revenue growth compared to last year. In 2018 alone, Kountoura continued, 400 investments projects have been implemented, resulting in an additional 26,000 beds.
Kountoura went on to announce that a bilateral committee between Lebanon, honoured country during this year’s AITE, and Greece, was inaugurated on Friday. The committee’s works will focus on increasing touristic flows between the two countries.
Discussing a wellness tourism event that took place during the first day of the AITE, Kountoura said that this is an area with excellent prospects, especially in view of the new bill on thematic tourism passed on Thursday in parliament.
Greece deserves to become a wellness tourism destination to be reckoned with, the Minister said. Within the Greek territory there are already 54 officially recognised mineral springs and the Ministry has set in motion the necessary processes for another 75 to be added to the list by the beginning of 2019.
The 5th Athens International Tourism Expo aims to gradually evolve into a major International Tourism Exhibition that will gather exhibitors and visitors from many countries. It will address to more tourism markets, thematic and geographic, providing them the chance to showcase their products to the International tourism professionals. The exhibition is re-named as Athens International Tourism Expo to provide a more accurate understanding of these enhanced targets.
One of the great innovations of AIT Expo 2018 was the “Come to meet the Secret Greece”, a special event that presented the less known tourism destinations of Greece and the new tourism forms that now Greece can service to the hosted buyers.
Draft law on thematic
tourism passes in parliament
The draft law on thematic tourism and special forms of tourism, which includes the upgrade of the institutional framework for tourism education and tourism in general, was ratified on Thursday in parliament.
SYRIZA, ANEL, Potami and the Centrists Union voted in favour. New Democracy, Democratic Alliance and Golden Dawn voted ‘present’ while communist KKE party voted against.
This bill opens up new horizons in the development of Greek tourism for the next few years, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said, noting that thematic tourist products support the government’s strategic goal for tourism 365 days a year.
Kountoura stressed that this bill addresses the legislative, administrative and operational gaps and for the first time promotes a framework for thematic tourism and its various specific forms.