The Minister of Tourism had private contacts with the representatives of the three American airlines, who noted that, this year, Greece emerged as one of the most successful international destinations
The positive messages for tourism in our country from the US market were mentioned by the representatives of the three largest American airlines at the economic-development forum “Travel Leaders” which was organized in Lagonisi, with the participation of the most important tour operators from all over the world.
The Minister of Tourism also gave his “present”, Vassilis Kikiliaswho focused particularly on the deepening of the strategic relationship developed with the US throughout the previous period, the culmination of which was – as he said – the establishment of nine direct flights a day with the largest airports in America, a number that corresponds to 63 flights the week.
“We have never had 500,000 travelers directly from America on “Eleftherios Venizelos” – coming from Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia with all three American companies – with the first flight having already started on March 7 , that is earlier than any other year. Of course, all this did not happen by accident. Nor are they just facts and figures. It is the great added value of our tourism product – the result of collective, hard and methodical work – that translates into income for the Greek economy and the average Greek family“, the Minister of Tourism emphasized in his greeting, in the thematic section “Aviation & Airline Industry”.
As Mr. Kikilias stated, the effort of the Ministry of Tourism does not stop here, as the goal now is to increase direct flights from the USA to Greece and to extend their flight schedule beyond the summer months. “Our main priority, already from the beginning of this year’s very successful summer season, is the extension of the tourist season in our country. In June alone, visitor arrivals from the other side of the Atlantic were 50% higher than in 2019. And I am especially happy that our efforts are paying off, as I am informed that most companies have already extended their itineraries for the next months“, he emphasized.
On the sidelines of the forum, the Minister of Tourism had private contacts with the representatives of the three American airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines), who noted that, this year, Greece – and especially Athens – emerged in one of the most successful international destinations in which they operate. For this reason, as the representatives of the American airlines emphasized to the Minister of Tourism, they have already put on the table the extension of their operation in our country for the autumn-winter months as well.
According to APE-MBE information, Delta, which this year “opened” the Athens-Boston direct flight for the first time after 25 years, has already scheduled flights to Greece until January 10, 2023, on the Nea route York-Athens, thus also covering the Christmas-New Year holidays. This fact takes on particular importance, as while based on the company’s initial planning, the direct routes New York-Athens would extend until October at the latest, Delta is now essentially turning its operations in our country into a ten-month one.
For his part, Mr. Kikilias repeated the proposal to open a new direct air connection from the USA – apart from Athens – to Thessaloniki, placing special emphasis on the “Macedonia” airport, which – as he mentioned – can become a hub for all the Balkans. “The city of Thessaloniki presents a special dynamic. “Macedonia” airport has been significantly upgraded. So is the city’s port, which is now connected to the airport for travelers’ luggage transfer and check-in. Moreover, it is not just a coincidence that the arrivals of cruise ships in Thessaloniki have increased tenfold, compared to 2019, with the tendency to be increasing for 2023 as well. It is also very important that the investments in the hotel industry industry in the city are continuous”, pointed out the Minister of Tourism.
The interest of America’s largest airlines in increasing direct flights from the USA to our country, comes a few days after the announcement of the American Association of Travel Consultants (ASTA) for the region of Greece, regarding the great boost in the tourist stream from the USA in Greece given by the agreement – which was achieved by the Ministry of Tourism – for the nine direct flights to our country, in the current season.
According to the data, this is a large number of high-income visitors, with the average expenditure of each American traveler reaching 2,000 euros per week (of which 25% goes to accommodation and 15% to food).
Asked to comment on these figures, the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, told APE-MPE:We aimed, from the beginning, at the tourist market of America, as the figures of the Bank of Greece give the American tourist the profile of the high spender traveler. The results justify us. And this is reflected not only in the record arrivals from the USA this year, but primarily in the coffers of industry professionals. In such a critical period for the whole of Europe, this makes us doubly happy, as the surplus profits from tourism enable us on the one hand to strengthen the Greek economy and on the other hand to continue supporting our fellow citizens. Because, this is exactly what our tourism product is. It supports all those who work in tourism professions, small and medium entrepreneurship, trade, catering, the primary sector».
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