Last year was a record year for Greece’s tourism sector – reaching 30.5 million visitors for the first time ever. This year, the country expects 32.5 million visitors and is on track to meet that goal. For the first five months of 2018, there was a 19.7 percent increase in visitors, compared to 2017. So what is this small Mediterranean nation doing right?
In 2015, a former athlete and top model – who had been a member of the Hellenic Parliament since 2004 – took the helm of the Tourism Ministry. Ms. Elena Kountoura, a member of the Independent Greeks party, hit the ground running and implemented a new tourism strategy for Greece: 365-days destination. The idea was to promote different areas in Greece that have not always been at the forefront of tourists’ minds and demonstrate that the country is more than just a summer hotspot.
From Halkidiki in the North, with its Mediterranean forests that open into sandy beaches, to the Peloponnese Peninsula in the South, with mammoth mountains in the interior and spectacular beaches, to the Cyclades Islands in the Southeast, with beautiful white houses and classic blue windows and doors, “Greece is a small paradise on earth”, said Kountoura with a bright smile.