PM Mitsotakis talks with SETE’s Retsos: Greece needs to update its tourism brand

The government had begun “an effort to rethink Greece’s brand” before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a discussion with Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos on Wednesday, and intends to “pick up where we left off” in 2022.

Speaking at SETE’s regular general shareholders’ meeting at Zappeio Hall, Mitsotakis said that “tourism will be much more of a total experience, and Greece has a unique comparative advantage in this.”

Addressing himself directly to SETE’s president he said that the confederation must ensure that the agrofood sector is involved in tourism. “We must get over the tyranny of arrivals. We must see what we can do with the oversaturated destinations. We are not overlooking the significance of mass tourism, but development will come from unique experiences that Greece is able to offer year round,” the prime minister noted, adding that tourism and protection of the environment are now inseparable.

Retsos referred to a difficult year for tourism, since basic markets for Greek tourism have not opened yet, making it hard to predict the outcome of the tourism season and leading to efforts to extend the tourism year in 2021.

Tourism can and should be leading in the country’s development, the SETE official said, but Greece still faced several challenges in the near future: the protection of public health; support by the state (including an across-the-board single VAT of 11 pct for tourism and transport); EU recovery fund use; infrastructure, especially of needed public works in Greece; and the sector’s digital transformation.

Retsos also called for consistent, clearly defined, and continuous collaboration of SETE and Marketing Greece with the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization. Difficult circumstances call for closer and more extended collaboration between private and public sectors, he underlined.