Greek PM says he is cautiously optimistic on 2021 tourism revenues target

NATO summit in Brussels
Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives for the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

ATHENS, June 23 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday he was cautiously optimistic that Greece would achieve its tourism revenue target this year.

Greece, which relies on tourism for a fifth of its economy, saw just seven million tourists and 4 billion euros in revenues in 2020, down from a record 33 million visitors and 18 billion euros in revenues in 2019. It expects tourist arrivals and revenues this year to reach half the levels seen in 2019.

"I am cautiously optimistic that the second half will be better than we have expected and that we eventually achieve the target of 50% of 2019 revenues," Mitsotakis told the general assembly of Greece's tourism confederation SETE.

To save its tourism sector from a second summer lost to the coronavirus, Greece is ready to use a COVID-19 travel certificate before its EU-wide launch on July 1 to attract foreign travellers.

But much will depend on when big tourist markets, such as Britain, ease their travel restrictions and allow people to spend their summer holiday in Greece without the need to quarantine or test for COVID on their return. read more

Greece is pinning its hopes on tourism and a recovery of domestic demand after many months of lockdown to pull its economy out of a 8.2% recession last year and achieve a 3.6% GDP growth this year.

Mitsotakis reiterated the 3.6% target on Wednesday but said his government might upwardly revise it when there is certainty that first half data would support this.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Toby Chopra

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