'holiday campaigns for Greece get off to an early start'.
Campaigns to attract more holiday visitors to the Greek Islands next year are starting early - this month in fact. Greek tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni told a conference this week that a range of activities to promote 2014 Greek island holidays abroad will begin in October as Greece tries to capitalise on this year's rich tourist holiday pickings.
The minister praised Greece's change of image over the last few months as tourism experts predict a record 17.5 million holiday visitors this year.
But work is already under way to bring in even more tourists in 2014. Among them are initiatives to stimulate the destinations of Athens and Thessaloniki for city breaks with particular emphasis on their museums, galleries, and restaurants; a major holiday market in Turkey and a special advertising campaign for the big travel industry exhibition- World Travel Market in London.
The Internet is to be the main weapon to promote Greek and Greek Islands holidays in the foreign markets.
Secretary General of the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) said that although Greece will not participate in all the tourism exhibitions but stressed that Greece will be present at the big international travel industry events.
Meanwhile TUI travel boss Peter Long was back in Greece this week for talks over growth plans for the Greek Islands market in 2014 which include a 10% rise in holiday packages.
Europe's largest travel group brand TUI spends more than €500 million a year on purchasing services in the Greek tourism industry and plans to extend the summer season is selected resorts next year.
TUI is also opening new hotels in Rhodes and Crete. Mr Long said: "Greece has seen an impressive recovery in 2013 and in 2014 we will increase the number of our customers enjoying a holiday in this destination to some two million - an increase of nearly 10% over this year."
The TUI boss said he believed Greece had put last summer's troubles behind them and is looking towards a future of growth in which tourism will undoubtedly play a large part.
He said government investment in the country's main tourist gateways, such as airports and ports, as well as improving road networks, will be the key to tourism growth and boosting the Greek economy next year.
He added: ""Supporting Greece and its government, we will be jointly exploring the extension of the season in selective destinations, we will continue to invest in resorts, not only through direct investment in new hotels but also by supporting our hotel partners as we secure our accommodation."