Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura underlined Greece’s important growth opportunities in tourism and investments, while addressing an event on Friday.Kountoura was speaking at the 2nd Business Forum entitled “Tourism: Strategic Growth Sector” organised by the Hellenic-French Chamber in Athens.
Greece and France, she said, are linked by mutual friendship, trust and long-term cooperation on all levels.
The number of French tourists visiting Greece increased by more than 10 pct in 2017 compared with the previous year and is expected to exceed 1.9 million by the end of the year, she added.
Over the last three years, the increase in tourist traffic from France has exceeded 30 pct, which corresponds to 500,000 additional arrivals of French tourists in Greece, Kountoura noted. For this year, she estimated that total arrivals of all tourists in Greece will reach 30 million, including cruise visitors.
Kountoura also referred to the significant increase in tourist investments over the last two years and to the friendly environment that has been created for new business initiatives, synergies and partnerships in the dynamically-growing tourism sector. The minister noted that there were 300 investment proposals in the tourism sector, of which 254 qualified for funding under the investment law.
Greece’s national tourism policy has been extremely successful over the past three years, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Tuesday, commenting on the publication of the Bank of Greece’s data on tourism. According to the central bank, more than 23.5 million tourists came to Greece in the nine months from January to September, while revenues from tourism came close to 13 billion euros.
“Tourists for 365 days a year is our priority,” the minister said. “What we want is a continued upward trend as in previous years… In 2017 we again had record arrivals and revenues,” she added.
“We believe that tourism will continue to play a leading role in the future because it is the driving force behind our national economy. It is also the bridge that helps other production sectors to develop,” she underlined.
The balance of travel services showed a surplus of 11,535 million euros in the January-September period, up 12.4 pct from a surplus of 10,258 million euros in the same period of 2016, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday. The central bank, in a report, said that this development was driven by an increase of 1,213 million euros or 10.3 pct in travel receipts and a decrease of 64 million or 4.2 pct in travel payments.
The rise in travel receipts is attributed mostly to a 10.3 pct increase in inbound traveller flows and, to a lesser extent, to a 0.5 pct rise in average expenditure per trip. Net receipts from travel services offset 84.3 pct of the goods deficit and accounted for 76.7 pct of total net receipts from services.
In January-September 2017, travel receipts increased by 10.3 pct year-on-year to 12,994 million euros. This development is attributed to increases in receipts from within the EU-28 by 14.0 pct to 8,830 million euros and in receipts from outside the EU28 by 3.9 pct to 3,795 million euros. In particular, receipts from euro area residents rose by 19.7 pct to 5,546 million euros, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also increased, by 5.6 pct to 3,285 million.
Bookings for summer holidays in Greece are significantly up, UK travel agent Thomas Cook said on Tuesday.
Although it is still too early, bookings have increased and prices are up compared to last year.
“The demand for holidays in Turkey and Egypt is very strong, and we expect it to reduce the margin pressures caused by high demand for Spain in 2016 and 2017,” the company said in their report for their 2017 economic results.
“Reservations for Greece and Cyprus have also significantly increased, following strong performance in summer 2017,” it added.
According to the travel agency, British bookings for next summer are up 2 pct and the average selling price is up 6 pct.