Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias refers to this year's tourism performance in terms of arrivals and revenues, the strategic moves being made for the development of winter tourism and the goals for 2023, while commenting on the case of Eva Kailis as well as the stakes of the upcoming elections.
As he stated, the data from the airports, the Bank of Greece and ELSTAT show that arrivals and revenues approached or even exceeded in some cases the record performances of 2019, which was, however, a "carefree" year, without problems.
"When we compare with the pre-pandemic period, we should consider that in the first months of 2022 the restrictions due to the "Omicron" variant were in force, followed by a war in the heart of Europe, precision, inflation, an energy crisis," said the minister.
"Indicatively, it will Here are the figures announced last week by Fraport: This year's passenger traffic at the country's 14 largest regional airports set a record with 30.5 million passengers traveling from January to November, a 3.6% increase in compared to 2019," he continued.
"In addition, we enhanced the cruise with an increase in homeporting with 5,000 calls in Greek ports, a record number, while in the context of the sustainable tourism model we highlighted new cruise destinations (Thessaloniki, Kavala, Volos, etc.)," said Mr. Kikilias, adding that despite this year's adversities, travel revenue not only reached the target of last year's budget, but also exceeded it by 3 billion euros.
"This is hot money that goes directly into the pockets of Greek citizens, who need it so much, especially in this fiscally difficult period," he said in an interview with the newspaper "Macedonia".
With reference to the tourist traffic during Christmas and New Year, he stated that the occupancy rates are expected to move to very high levels, even reaching 100% in the popular destinations. After the holidays, he noted, a new Tourism for All program draw will be held for 125,000 intangible digital cards to boost domestic tourism and support winter/mountain destinations beyond the holiday season.
Speaking about the next goals, he emphasized that 2023 will be the year when the sign of sustainability will be more visible everywhere. From advertising campaigns to the implementation of a series of infrastructure projects in island and continental destinations, such as solid waste management, water resources, electrification, renewable energy sources, ports, marinas, anchorage, mountain trails, ski resorts, wineries, etc.
He made a special mention of Thessaloniki, noting that cruises will grow even more - which this year was 10 times higher than in 2019 - the city will be promoted as an ideal destination for a city break, while at the same time new openings have been launched in the markets of the USA and of Saudi Arabia and new direct flights.
Regarding the recent political developments, he emphasized that the accusations against Eva Kaili are a very serious matter and that such corruption phenomena shake the confidence of citizens, especially the new generation.
"The gap between politicians and society is growing and if we don't do something, at some point it won't be bridged anymore," Mr. Kikilias pointed out.
"We must always remember that without the trust and support of the citizens, we politicians are nothing and we must not forget a single moment, who gave us our parliamentary positions and for what reasons we were voted in and are in power," the minister added.
Finally, he emphasised that no one can dispute that in recent years the country has been faced with multiple and serious crises (pandemic, precision, energy, Greek-Turkish), however the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis has proven that with seriousness and responsibility it can be effective, to take the right initiatives in time, to provide solutions and to be by society's side in any difficulty that may arise.
"Soon there will be a political response to the stakes of the ballot box and we will all be called together to try again and complete our work for another four years," said the Minister of Tourism.
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