Can Greece become the Florida of Europe? [Infographic]
Cruise ships at Mykonos, Greece. (Picture: Alamy)
Tourism officials in the country are hoping to build on recent success through new investments.
Athens — and, indeed, Greece as a country — has become a hotbed of tourism, especially now during holiday season.
In the heart of old Athens, it is not uncommon to see tourists in hats with cameras slung about, craning to take the best possible photos. It is also not uncommon to see parties who have disembarked temporarily from cruise ships being guided through the narrow streets and squares of Plaka beneath the ancient Acropolis.
It’s all proof of something that tourism officials in the country have known for some time: Greece is now among the most popular destinations in the world, with experts estimating it is likely to attract 33 million tourists this year, even with a global economic uncertainty beginning to mount.
According to the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION online database 23 hotel projects are currently in the pipeline in Greece.
Of the 33 million tourists expected to pay a visit to Greece this year, an estimated one sixth will find themselves visiting Athens, a capital city that until recently was known more for its anti-austerity protests.
Those days are mostly gone, and so too is that idea that it is perhaps best to bypass the Greek capital in favor of a holiday trip to one of the country’s isles.
“There has been a massive increase with each year being a record year for the last six years,” Yiannis Retsos, the country’s tourism chief, told the Observer. “Greece has become trendy for sure.”
This boom in tourism follows nearly a decade of crisis, during which Greece became a debt-stricken nation.
Their tourism fortunes, however, are firmly now on the upswing, with the industry there having grown nearly 7 percent last year, which is actually more than three and a half times faster than the country’s wider economy. Meanwhile, tourism is also generating about 25 percent of the country’s GDP, establishing it as vital to Greece’s public finances. And for the first time, this year tourism-related jobs there are projected to surpass one million, or 25 percent of the country’s labor market, according to new information from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The spectre of over-tourism looms for Greece — as it does in many countries throughout Europe — but with recent vital upgrades to roads, ports, airports, waste disposal and electricity grids after years of cutbacks, the country is investing in its hospitality fortunes for the long haul.
This much is also evident through looking at Greece’s project pipeline via TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION.
Let’s take a look at a few more hotel projects in Greece:
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