Greek minister for tourism Harry Theoharis with Travel Bulletin publisher Jeanette Ratcliffe

WTM news: How Greece is catering for 21st century holiday demands

The Greek minister for tourism has unveiled plans that will take holidaymakers beyond “the sun, sea, beaches and ancient monuments” to focus on contemporary culture.

The country aims to become an all-season destination with more flights in the winter and better management of islands such as Santorini during the summer months.

Plus it no longer wants to be defined as a summer holiday destination and as the crowds depart they will look to attract those wanting city breaks, medical or wellness holidays, athletic, educational, religious, and gastronomic trips.

The move is part of a decade-long plan that focuses on “quality, sustainability and authenticity”.

Speaking at a press conference, Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis said: “There’s more than Ancient Greece. It’s contemporary too. 

“Our vision is Greece as a full experience as we have never imagined it before. Greece has indisputably - always - been at the top of tourists’ destinations worldwide, but with one major difference - Greece is more than thesun, the sea, the beaches, the ancient monuments. It is much more in fact. It is a multi-level and multi-faceted experience. 

“The main areas of focus towards which we will be moving as a ten-year strategic plan are three. The objectives are clear: quality, sustainability and authenticity. 

“Quality, because for us tourism means hospitality – it means service with a human face.

“Sustainability, because tourism today requires a balance of supply and demand of infrastructure and environmental conscience. 

“Authenticity, since for us tourism means living within the country. The visitor must depart having seen heard, tasted, smelt the experience Greece all the way.”

To achieve this new cultural aim, a new museum for art lovers has already opened in Athens. The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum is 11-floors with works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Chagall and Cezanne.

The foundation's president Fleurette Karadonti said: “As visitors to Greece are more interested in staying in Athens for longer we are offering something different from the trip to Athens. The antiquities and acropolis are of course central to a visit but we are trying to present a more modern cultural experience to visitors. Athens is not just the Parthenon. Our collection has major masterpieces which gives visitors a worthwhile experience.”


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