Greece. Tourism in the economy. Tourism governance and funding

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1 Greece Tourism in the economy Tourism is an important economic sector in Greece. Tourism directly contributed EUR 8.5 billion to the Greek economy in 2013, equivalent to 5.3% of GDP. Tourism is also an important source of employment, directly employing around people, or 9.1% of total employment. Approximately 22 million international visitors visited Greece in 2014, generating receipts of EUR 13.4 billion, an increase of 10.2% over Tourists from the European Union accounted for the highest growth (arrivals up 25.9% and revenue up 14.8%) while growth from other countries was still positive but more limited (arrivals up 14.8%, revenue up 5.2%). Total spending by EU residents was EUR 8.2 billion and spending by visitors from elsewhere was EUR 4.8 billion. In 2014 Greece received cruise ship arrivals, accounting for 2.4 million visitors. While the number of ships was down on 2014, the number of visitors was slightly up. Overall spending from this sector was EUR 457 million, down by 14.5% on Tourism governance and funding Following a presidential decree in 2014 the then Ministry of Tourism was merged into what is now the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism (the Ministry). The merger of the productive sectors of the Greek economy into one ministry was intended to improve the co-ordination of relevant policies at a horizontal level. The Ministry formulates the country s tourism policy, introduces legislative reforms, undertakes tourism planning and co-ordinates activity with other ministries in order to boost investment and improve the quality and competitiveness of the Greek tourism product. It is also responsible for representation overseas and for harmonising legislation with the European Union. A number of different directorates are responsible for the various functions of the Department of Tourism within the Ministry. In addition, a Special Co-ordination and Implementation Service reports directly to the Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development. This Service supports interventions that arise from the overall strategic tourism planning of the Ministry and its co-operation with supervised tourism bodies and those representing the tourism industry. In particular, the Service engages with actions of the Ministry within the operational programmes of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSFR). The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) is a public entity supervised by the Ministry. Its mission is to organise, develop and promote Greek tourism within the country and abroad. GNTO has 15 offices abroad. By virtue of Presidential Decree 112/2014, the 180

2 licensing and monitoring functions of GNTO, including its 14 Regional Offices, were transferred to the Ministry. The Regional Offices have responsibility for licensing and inspecting tourism businesses, conducting quality control, monitoring official classification and imposing administrative sanctions on tourism businesses. At a local level, authorities (regions and municipalities) draw up and implement programmes and activities for tourism development and promotion in their areas. However, it is mandatory for all public authorities to obtain prior approval of their promotional activities from GNTO, with a view to harmonising their campaigns with the overall tourism promotion strategy of the country. In 2013 a number of different types of tourism education and training bodies, previously managed by the Greek Organisation for Tourism Education and Training (OTEK), were transferred to the Ministry as Regional Tourism Units. The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) is a public entity supervised by the Ministry, whose members are hotels operating in Greece. As of January 2015 it has been made the competent authority responsible for the official classification of hotels, rooms and apartments to rent. Greece: Organisational chart of the tourism bodies Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) Secretary General for Tourism Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development Special Unit for the National Strategic Reference Framework Directorate-General for Financial and Administrative Affairs Directorate of Financial Affairs Directorate for Administrative Affairs Directorate for Tourism Education Educational Units Department for Civil Emergency Planning Directorate-General for Tourism Policy Regional Tourism Units Directorate of Strategic Planning Directorate of Tourism Investments Directorate of Quality Standards Directorate of Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Special Unit for the Promotion and Licencing of Tourism Enterprises Source: OECD, adapted from the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, In 2014 the ministerial budget for tourism was EUR 74 million. Of this EUR 27 million was the regular budget and a further EUR 47 covered the public investment programme (EUR 32 million co-funded by the European Union and 15 million nationally funded). In 2014 the GNTO had a budget of EUR 11.3 million, mainly to cover its tourism marketing activity. Tourism policies and programmes According to the National Strategic Plan for Tourism , the main medium-term objectives of the national tourism policy are: 181

3 Enriching the national tourism product and increasingly promoting special interest tourism, Valorising cultural, archeological and natural resources, Further simplifying the required licensing procedures with a view to creating an environment conducive to tourism investments, Improving infrastructure with respect to all tourism-related transportation means and networks, focusing on multimodality and intermodality, Ensuring the services provided by tourism enterprises are one of their core advantages (highly educated personnel, employers and employees with sectoral and spatial specialisation), Upgrading the quality of tourist accommodation services through the modernisation or withdrawal of old facilities, Incorporating new technologies and concepts in the business models of the tourism businesses, Encouraging synergies among tourism entrepreneurs, focusing on the creation of tourism clusters based on market demand in order to offer a more flexible tourism product. The main actions to meet these objectives include the following: Providing incentives for new types of investments and introducing new tourism products (medical tourism, agrotourism, wine tourism, religious tourism, maritime tourism, condo hotels, youth hostels, tourist residences-villas, Integrated Tourism Development Areas, complex tourism resorts). In some cases this has been supported by legislation to help define these products, such as a law in 2014 setting criteria for agrotourism, so that support could be given for appropriate investment. Encouraging research, technology development and innovation within tourism businesses by promoting co-operation with universities, creating clusters, and encouraging specialisation. Setting up an online platform, which provides entrepreneurs with the information necessary to start their own business (motivation, funding, legal framework, research material), utilises social media to bring people, ideas, corporations, universities and organisations together, and promotes creative partnerships and investment opportunities ( Promoting energy management schemes and the use of alternative sources of energy by accommodation businesses, as well as waste-water management schemes in tourism destinations. Social and training programmes aimed at addressing seasonality and low skills. Pursuing agreements to operate direct flights between Greece and other destinations. Improving visa facilitation, including a pilot scheme for visitors from Turkey to visit seven Greek islands in the Aegean. Many of these actions, and others, have been supported by additional and amended laws and regulations. 182

4 Programmes to address seasonality and training needs in Greece In Greece implemented a Tourism for All programme in periods of low tourist demand. This subsidised tourist accommodation businesses in order for them to provide lower income groups with low-cost holidays. The programme was popular with the tourist beneficiaries and the participating businesses. It helped promote domestic tourism and led to higher occupancy rates and an extended tourism season, so enhancing employment and improving liquidity for the industry. In a programme was implemented by the Ministry for the training of employees and seasonally unemployed people in the tourism industry in Greece. It was funded by the government National Strategic Reference Framework mechanism and was aligned with the European Union strategies on Employment, Vocational Training and Human Resources. The aim was to help unqualified people, some of whom had already worked in tourism, receive adequate training that will provide them with the necessary skills to become more competitive in the labour market. 183

5 Statistical profile Table 1. Greece: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND Domestic tourism Total domestic trips Overnight visitors (tourists) Same-day visitors (excursionists) Nights in all types of accommodation Hotels and similar establishments Specialised establishments Other collective establishments Private accommodation Inbound tourism Total international arrivals Overnight visitors (tourists) Same-day visitors (excursionists) Top markets Germany United Kingdom Bulgaria France Russian Federation Nights in all types of accommodation Hotels and similar establishments Specialised establishments Other collective establishments Private accommodation Outbound tourism Total international departures Overnight visitors (tourists) Same-day visitors (excursionists) Top destinations Germany Italy United Kingdom Austria France TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION EUR Inbound tourism Total international receipts International travel receipts International passenger transport receipts Outbound tourism Total international expenditure International travel expenditure International passenger transport expenditure Not available; Break in series Disclaimer: Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database)

6 .. Not available Disclaimer: Table 2. Greece: Enterprises and employment in tourism Number of establishments Number of persons employed Total Tourism industries Accommodation services for visitors Hotels and similar establishments Food and beverage serving industry Passenger transport Air passenger transport Railways passenger transport Road passenger transport Water passenger transport Passenger transport supporting services Transport equipment rental Travel agencies and other reservation services industry Cultural industry Sports and recreation industry Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods Other country-specific tourism industries Other industries Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database)

7 From: OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016 Access the complete publication at: Please cite this chapter as: OECD (2016), Greece, in OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: This work is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of OECD member countries. This document and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. You can copy, download or print OECD content for your own use, and you can include excerpts from OECD publications, databases and multimedia products in your own documents, presentations, blogs, websites and teaching materials, provided that suitable acknowledgment of OECD as source and copyright owner is given. All requests for public or commercial use and translation rights should be submitted to Requests for permission to photocopy portions of this material for public or commercial use shall be addressed directly to the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at or the Centre français d exploitation du droit de copie (CFC) at

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