Can India strengthen Greece as a gateway to Europe?

Greek and Indian flags Greece 1821

What could cooperation between Greece and India bring?

India overtook China as the world's most populous country – and India has a median age almost a decade younger than China – just 28 years old. The increase in the population of the Asian country, which is currently estimated at 1.4 trillion inhabitants, goes alongside the rapid economic growth.

And this development puts it in the sights of Greek companies as well.

How India is developing

With many of the biggest markets sceptical or wary of growth prospects in the coming months due to inflation, India's story stands out as the world's fifth-largest economy with a GDP of more than $3.7 trillion.

A major factor in this is that the Indian economy is 65% domestically oriented, as the GroupM report shows. In this way, the country has managed to insulate itself from global economic shocks due to its domestic consumption potential.

Fiscal policy factors such as improved investment in digital infrastructure, a growing workforce and India's increasingly important export market partly explain its strong growth.

The possibilities of cooperation with Greece

India's leadership in the field of technology, but also its wider development, was also the reason for which a meeting between the Greek Prime Minister and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, took place in August - the first in 40 years.

The focus was on the possibilities of cooperation in medicine, technology, research, infrastructure, agri-food sector, tourism and training were discussed. This is why the Indian Prime Minister was accompanied by representatives of the powerful branches of the Indian economy.

From the executive director of the pharmaceutical company Emcure Samit Satish Mehta, the executive director of the company GMR, which is a member of the consortium managing the airport in Heraklion Kastelli Samit Satish Mehta, the managing director of the UPL active in food technology Vikram Shroff, to the director of the Indian clothing and textile giant Shahi Exports Harish Kumar Ahuja and the vice president of pharmaceutical company Intas Binish Chudgar.

In January, there were meetings of business community representatives from both countries to discuss the possibilities of synergies in various sectors, with one of them also in tourism.

How do Indians travel?

Until recently, all eyes were on the dynamic Chinese audience, which, however, found itself in front of a series of consecutive suspensions and bans due to Covid-19. The turn to the Indians was inevitable.

Pre-pandemic, nearly 27 million Indians travelled abroad, with forecasts and estimates pointing to a new record in 2024. India is the second fastest-growing outbound tourism market after China.

As far as Greece is concerned, the islands of Zakynthos and Naxos stand out among the new Indian preferences.  After Mykonos or Santorini, other Greek islands and Athens are expected to become new destinations for Indian tourists soon.

Greece occupies a tiny percentage of the choices of Indian tourists, around 50,000 to 75,000, while steady upward trends in Indian tourist flows to our country are observed annually (+20%).

Besides, the outbound Indian tourism market is expected to be $15.1 billion in 2022 to $44.7 billion in 2032.

What is Greece looking for in tourism?

India's rapidly growing population, economy and digital optimisation are pushing the country rapidly into the future. After all, one in five Gen Z-ers live in India.

Therefore, the needs, wants, and goals of India's Gen Z are expected to play a massive role in the future. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that the future of humanity will be determined by Asian youth.

At the centre is India's middle class, a key driver of economic growth and estimated to jump from 31% of the population in 2020-2021 to 61% in 2046-47. With an annual income of €5,500 to €33,000, it is estimated to rise to around €1.02 billion in 2046-47, up from €715 million in 2030-31 and €432 million in 2020-21.

Moreover, the Greek central administration worked in this direction even before the pandemic. The return of all functions to the new normality brought Marketing Greece, the private sector alliance for the promotion of Greek tourism products abroad, in collaboration with the AIA "Eleftherios Venizelos" to look for the profile of the Indian tourist, through tour hosting operators from the Asian country, to see up close the destinations and experiences they can promote within their country.

READ MORE: Greece Voted as Top Destination 2023 at News UK Travel Awards.

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