Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura on Saturday said she is optimistic about Greece’s progress in the tourism sector in 2019, following the country’s record year in 2018, when 33 million travelers were recorded.
“We are currently proceeding with new negotiations and agreements in order to maintain our share [in the international market] in 2019 and ensure that Greek tourism will further grow in the years to come,” Kountoura said during her speech at the Delphi Economic Forum 2019, which is currently held in Delphi, central Greece.
“We look into the future and we expect 2019 to be a demanding year for the European travel market,” she added.
Greece participates in EU decision-making on tourism issues
According to Minister Kountoura, tourism contributes 10 percent to the European GDP while Europe is the number one destination worldwide. “However, the sector was not high on the agenda of talks between the EU member states,” she said during the Delphi Forum.
“We have managed to change that and also include tourism as a topic in seminars and workshops held within the European Union,” she underlined. Within this framework, on March 8, the European Union will hold a technical seminar on tourism in Brussels, which will focus on the possible consequences once the UK withdraws from the EU on March 29, a process known as ‘Brexit’.
Meanwhile, in order for the country to be able to address current challenges – such as the Brexit – the minister has undertaken a number of initiatives to strengthen Greece’s cooperation with international organizations and create an integrated policy for tourism.
It should be noted that Greece currrently holds the vice presidency of the Tourism Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Also, Minister Kountoura recently became an honorary member of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation (MTF).
“All related international organizations have recognized Greece’s efforts and support its initiatives,” Kountoura said, adding that the country has managed to equally participate in the decision-making process within the EU and lead the dialogue for the implementation of a common global policy.
After Delphi, a Greek Tourism Ministry delegation, headed by Minister Kountoura, will travel to Germany to participate in the ITB Berlin tourism expo, which will be held between March 6-10. The Minister will attend meetings and networking events with local travel professionals and tour operators. She will also receive the “Celebrating Her” 2019 award for Greece’s successful tourism strategy and resilience.