WTM: Greece is year-round destination

VAT on food and beverages has been lowered

Greece is trying to extend its holiday season by looking beyond traditional holidaymakers as it seeks to fight its way out of recession through tourism.

Tourist numbers have bounced back this year after a decline in 2012. An extra 760,000 foreign visitors entered the country between January and August, a year-on-year increase of 11%.

Now the country’s tourism minister, Olga Kefalogianni, says she wants to see the traditional tourism season extended.

“Our focus was never on the number of visitors. Of course it’s an important figure, but we’re mostly interested in promoting Greece as a destination year round. This is why our campaign doesn’t stop – we are there 12 months a year,” she said.

The government is looking at different ways to try to boost demand. New legislation has enabled seaplanes to fly to harder-to-reach islands and VAT on food and beverages has been lowered, which Kefalogianni believes will help spur demand and lead to lower prices.

“We’re really trying to be as competitive as possible in terms of pricing but also giving good value for money,” she said. “Tourism has shown extreme resilience and it has definitely helped to keep the Greek economy together.”

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