It’s not often that you hear good news coming out of Greece, so it’s nice to hear that the country is this year expecting a record 17 million tourists. This could be the kiss of life so desperately needed in a country where roughly 20% of the economy relies on tourism.
Each year, Greece receives an estimated 10 million tourists, thus temporarily doubling the country’s population. The last few years, however, have seen a drop due to the unstable economy, the media image of Greece portrayed overseas and of course the strikes, some of which heavily impacted the tourist industry when port employees took part.
Strikes are so common in Greece that there is even a dedicated online portal letting users know who is striking where and on what day.
But the recent crisis seems to be forcing the tourist industry to up its game. Greece has long been famous as a sun and sea destination, opening a tiny 3 month window of opportunity for the tourism industry in the summer months, but then leaving the same tourist destinations empty and bereft of income once all the tourists pour back out.
Not only has Greece needed to reformulate its tourist industry for a long time now, but the country also needs to start promoting itself as an all-year destination. For example, few outside of Greece know of the country’s many and beautiful mountain resorts that provide a refreshing alternative for locals in the summer. Fewer still know of Greece’s ski resorts.
Yes, that’s right. You can go skiing in Greece. And there is much more to Greek cuisine than souvlaki and moussaka – Samonthraki island’s stuffed goat, for example, or Astypalia’s lobsters that are small but packed with flavour. With a local cuisine that is immensely varied, abundant wildlife and an enormous variety of types of holiday to be had in Greece, here’s hoping that the Ministry of Tourism takes advantage of this year’s renewed interest in the country and secures visitors that will be back for more long after the sun has set on the summer season.