Gaza conflict will not greatly impact Greek tourism, PM Mitsotakis forecasts

“Greek tourism proved to be exceptionally resilient. I must say that after the pandemic, what we saw as a global trend and I think will continue is people’s need to travel more. And in choosing between spending their money on buying a product or the experience of travel, many chose the second option. I think this is a trend that has come to stay,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday. The prime minister was addressing a panel discussion on “The Role of Tourism in Greece’s Future” during a conference organised by the newspaper “Proto Thema” at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC).

Mitsotakis predicted that, just as the war in Ukraine had has a limited impact on Greece’s tourism sector, which had no problem handling the loss of visitors from Russia, the impact of the conflict in Gaza will be similarly limited.

“I consider that our tourism is resilient, we have laid the foundations for a new tourist product, which must be based on quality, sustainability and resilience and especially on the unique experiences that we can offer and our ability to attract visitors who are able to spend more of their income in Greece,” he added.

According to Mitsotakis, it was a mistake to use the number of visitors as a measure of the tourism sector’s success, noting that the primary goal was the economic footprint of these visitors, where Greece had made significant progress. He also emphasised the importance of remaining competitive and ensuring sustainability, better exploiting the country’s cultural capital and ensuring accessibility.

Talking about the investment at Elliniko, Mitsotakis said that, in addition to its contribution to growth, it will act as a “showcase” of the “new Greece as we envision it” and “a city that come from the future”, which will contribute to the overall “change of brand” for the country.

Mitsotakis emphasised the need for regulation in tourism, referring to labour conditions, the need to find solutions for ordinary housing in tourist areas, while emphasising that tourism was not only a “game for big investments” but also smaller units.

He concluded by talking about the problem of traffic congestion in Athens, saying a new and sustainable urban mobility plan was needed for the entire Attic basin.