In an interview with the German Press Agency (DPA), the Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni stated that new and higher tourism records are expected for 2014 and assured the Greek hospitality and quality of service in reference to changing the image of Greece abroad.
Mrs Kefalogianni said “2013 was a record year for the tourism sector. In 2014, the number of arrivals is expected to increase by 10-15% and exceed 17 million. We believe that we can change the image of Greece,” admitting that the economic crisis had manipulated the image of Greece.
She added “Since May 2012, the government has managed to stabilize the situation in the country. Many foreigners are now able to trust that Greece is a safe and enjoyable destination. Initial data for 2014 are very good and we are expecting another record.” Mrs Kefalogianni explained that tourism is very important for Greece and this year earned 12 billion euros, while 17% of GDP and 16% of jobs are depending directly or indirectly from tourism.
The Minister noted that Germany is the largest tourism market for Greece with over 2.1 million Germans having visited this year. She stated “Germans should not be worried that they will encounter angry Greeks who will consider them as responsible for the imposition of austerity measures. Apparently, there were no incidents of Greek demonstrators causing harm to German tourists; Greeks are very hospitable.”
Moreover, she was asked if the austerity policy is reflected on the streets and hotels. Mrs Kefalogianni said that there is room for improving infrastructure and the government has already launched a privatization program to improve the quality of regional airports and the ports. However, tourists will find everything they need in Greece as we maintain a very good level of service.”