“Tourism in Crete is a key area of wealth,” Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said while speaking at a conference in Heraklion, Crete.
The conference took place on 17 October and explored possibilities of developing special interest tourism types (agritourism, wine tourism and pilgrimage/religious tourism) to create a development strategy for South and inland Crete.
“The biggest challenge is to balance development between the southern part of the island and the inland… But Crete can utilize the many unique elements and proceed towards a balanced development,” Mrs. Kefalogianni said.
The tourism minister underlined that all stakeholders must join forces to support tourism on Crete.
More into her speech, she spoke in regards to the initiatives of the Tourism Ministry for the further development of special interest tourism.
More specifically, Mrs. Kefalogianni highlighted amendments made to a bill for tourism that set the standards for the development of agritourism and wine tourism in Greece. The amendments defined agritourism-related activities and the types of businesses and accommodation units that can practice the alternative form of tourism and receive the special agritourism seal or wine tourism seal. “For the first time, minimum requirements for the activity of agritourism and wine tourism businesses were set,” she said.
On pilgrimage/religious tourism, she highlighted the cooperation protocols signed between the ministry and the Church of Greece that see to the promotion of Greece’s unique religious monuments to visitors.
Mrs. Kefalogianni added that the implementation of the national plan for tourism resulted to the industry developing into a “catalyst” for economic growth. In 2014, revenues and arrivals increased by 13.4 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively, according to data from the Bank of Greece.