22 October 2014 at 07.15 GMT
Tui Travel is to extend its summer season in Greece next year in a bid to match this year’s 10% growth in holidaymakers visiting the country.
The message came from chief executive Peter Long following a meeting with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras.
Long told the annual conference of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) in Athens: “The relationship that we have built with this beautiful country over the last 50 years is a strong one and one that we are proud of.
“We will continue to invest in the future of Greece, working in close co-operation with the government. This includes trialling an earlier start to our 2015 summer season.”
He said the company is aiming to continue its customer growth at a similar level to this year’s 10% to help drive a strong economy.
“Last year, when I met the prime minister, we committed to increasing passenger numbers by 10%. We have achieved that, bringing some two million Tui Travel customers from across all of our source markets, exceeding our best expectations.” said Long.
“Although, it’s not only about arrival numbers; it’s also about the overall economic and social benefit generated.”
Long called for a greater link between local producers and hotels to help boost local economic spend and increase customer satisfaction; to extend the holiday season; encourage development in the smaller Greek islands; to improve infrastructure covering regional airports, roads, cruise ports and marinas and invest in modern tourism education to ensure a strong basis for future growth.
“We support 10,000 jobs – directly and indirectly – here in Greece and as a travel organisation; we make up roughly 10% of the total international arrivals in the country. All of this underpins our leading position here,” he said.
“Our target is to build upon this strong position to support further growth in Greece and to drive this country’s tourism industry to the next level.”
Long added: “We are committed to supporting Greece. It is of great importance that the government, along with all of the industry’s professionals, continue to work together to support further growth in Greece within an environment of stability.
“As a business, we will continue to provide unique holiday experiences using sustainable best practice and working with the local community to boost economic contribution.”
The Greek tourism sector is expected to see a total of 21.5 million arrivals this year as the country seeks to drive economic recovery.
The sector is forecast by the World Travel and Tourism Council, to contribute almost 20% to Greece’s GDP this year, supporting 675,000 jobs.
The SETE annual conference was attended by representatives of the government, the ministry of tourism, tourism associations as well as board members of Tui Travel and hotel partners.
Sourced from Travel Weekly