Tourism in Greece

Tourism in Greece

  • well-established industry
  • 16,000 km coastline
  • 6,000 islands and islets

Investing in the Greek Tourism Sector

With more than 16,000 kilometers of coastline, more than 6,000 islands and islets, and a well-established tourism industry, Greece presents a prime investment opportunity in the Tourism sector. The country is one of the top global tourist destinations for sun and beach holidays, and also provides attractive propositions for year-round themed holidays. The competitive advantages of Greece, such as rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and geographical variety, have been attracting significant tourism investments in recent years, thus further strengthening Greece’s image as an ideal destination both for holidays and tourism-related investments.

Even during the recent crisis, the tourist industry in Greece has been one of the mainstays of economic growth and employment, with a continued growth in tourist arrivals and revenues driven mainly by:

  • the determined efforts of the Greek tourist authorities and associations to upgrade the tourist product offering
  • the development of new key markets such as Russia, Israel, Turkey and China.

The tourist industry is currently undergoing a major strategic improvement initiative, focusing on the expansion of the tourist period, the attraction of higher-value tourist segments (High-net-worth, affluent), the increase of average daily spending and the opening of new tourist markets.

Over the next years, Greece is poised to make significant investments in the tourist industry, focused on transforming the traditional “sun & beach” tourist product into a number of higher-value, more focused products, centered around:

  • Thematic sun & beach tourism, where specific “themes” such as wellness, romance or luxury are used to add value and to extend the typical sun & beach holidays
  • Nautical tourism, both in terms of attracting a larger amount of cruise liners and in terms of extending the offering for yachting/ sailing holidays
  • City Break tourism focused mainly around the two main cities of Athens and Thessaloniki
  • Cultural and religious tourism, upgrading and leveraging the several historical, heritage and religious monuments and museums of Greece
  • Medical tourism which presents an exciting growth opportunity if the skilled Greek medical personnel is combined with investments in existing facilities and infrastructure, and
  • Meetings and Incentives (MICE) tourism positioning Greece as a major meeting and conference center for regional associations and companies
  • Integrated resorts – holiday housing new developments in existing and new tourism destinations taking advantage of the new legislation for the development of integrated resorts and for the acquisition of residence permits by non EU citizens who invest in Real estate

The upgrading of the tourist product is supported by a number of initiatives by the Greek state, the Greek National Tourism Organization, the relevant Business Associations and the regional authorities and municipalities, and is considered to be one of the most strategic avenues for growth in the Greek economy.

Why Greece ?

Brand value

Greece has several destinations that are among the core preferences of global tourists, and are internationally recognized as having premium holiday appeal

Geography and morphology

From the multitude of sunny islands and beaches to the snowy peaks and forests, Greece offers an unlimited variety of attractive destinations for year-round holidays

History and Culture

More than four millennia of recorded history and an abundance of sites, museums and locations where one can see it unfold before one’s eyes

Established Infrastructure

More than 700,000 hotel beds, more than 500 conference facilities, more than 6,000 yachting births, direct air links from major European airports into more than 20 destinations

Key investment opportunities

  • Privatization of several key tourist and transport state assets (marinas, regional airports, tourist properties etc.) by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund
  • Development of premium tourist resorts and properties aided by the funding and tax incentives given for such new developments
  • Development of specialized tourist products and facilities focused around specific themes (gastronomy, culture, wellness etc.), categories (medical tourism, MICE etc.), markets (Russia, Israel, Asia etc.) or segments (elderly, couples etc.)

Key Figures

Total tourism added value 28 bn1
Tourism as % of Greek GVA 16%1
International arrivals in 2014 ~22 mn2
Total People employed in tourism 657,0003
Number of beaches / marinas with blue flag 353 / 9
Number of operating marinas 194
Number of docking berths  66614
Number of UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites 175
  1. McKinsey report for Tourism, 2013
  3. SETE 2014
  4. GNTO site