WTM 2015: Greece thanks UK trade for ‘sticking with’ country through difficulties

WTM 2015: Greece thanks UK trade for ‘sticking with’ country through difficulties

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Greece will follow a three-pillared marketing strategy next year as it targets steady growth.

Speaking at WTM on Monday , the country’s tourism minister, Elena Kountoura, described Greece as resilient, following the “difficulties” this year, and thanked the UK travel trade for “sticking with it” through the economic and political issues it faced as a destination.

“The trade have been our best ambassadors,” she said.

Provisional data released by the Bank of Greece shows the country has seen an almost 11% increase in year-on-year arrivals from overseas markets between January and August.

In the first eight months of the year the country received a record number of visitors – 18 million compared to 15.3 million in the same period last year.

From January to August Greece also saw a 25% increase in arrivals from the UK – 1.8 million compared to 1.4 million last year.

The Greek Tourist Board also highlighted at WTM that the Leisure Travel Monitor report from GfK shows a 2% increase in UK holiday bookings to Greece this year to September, compared to 2014.

Greece’s early indications for bookings for 2016, up until September this year, show year on year increase of 4%.

“Most of the visitors had booked before we saw the trouble earlier this year,” said Kountoura. “Our campaign to increase last minute bookings worked.

“We are seeing really strong numbers and are already on about 24-25 million bookings, and we hope to close with more by the end of the year, it’s not over yet.

“We are hoping to do even better than 2015 next year but we don’t really want to put numbers on it yet.”

Kountoura said the next marketing campaign will focus on “prolonging the season” by highlighting the appeal of Greece as a year-round destination; to promote lesser-visited regions and destinations and to highlight “thematic” attractions, such as medical and religious tourism.

“At the same time we are finding new products to make Greece more attractive to new markets, like China,” said Kountoura.

“We really offer the best market value for many, we have it all.”


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