Temporary Minister of Tourism of Greece Ioanna Dretta assumed his new post from Vasilis Kikilias during the Ministry of Tourism handover ceremony held on Friday evening in Athens.
Dreta, the former CEO of Marketing Greece, is part of Greece’s non-political caretaker government sworn in on Friday afternoon.
With a career in Greek tourism spanning over 20 years, Dreta has held various key positions in the private and public sectors. She holds a Civil Engineering degree from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and postgraduate degrees from Imperial College London (MSc) and Harvard Kennedy School (Master of Public Administration).
Dreta assumed the role of CEO and Managing Director of Marketing Greece, a non-profit organization and private sector initiative, in 2017 and stepped down at the beginning of May. She remains on the board of directors, continuing to support the organization’s leaders with her know-how and experience.
“Greek tourism, which has essentially supported the Greek economy and society for the last 10 years, may have been disrupted during the Covid years, but it has bounced back and is today at the top of the global tourism market,” she said at the ceremony transmission.
During the pandemic, Dretta spearheaded a number of marketing projects for Greece and also worked closely with the Ministry of Tourism and the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (GNTO) to boost the promotion of Greece in international markets.
“Tourism faces challenges, but there are also many opportunities, so that the next day it can support even more dynamically the society, the national economy and the local economies of the destinations. This requires a major effort from central government, local government and the private sector,” she said.
“My role is to contribute to a smooth transition from the previous government to the next,” Dreta added.
For his part, the Minister of Tourism resigned Vasilis Kikilias referred to the positive figures for arrivals and revenues in Greece recorded during the last tourist season, thanks to the ministry’s successful tourism campaigns, marketing strategies and the extension of the season.
“We have strengthened the country’s reputation and image abroad like never before… We have achieved the biggest recovery of tourism in the EU,” Kikilias said, citing Eurostat data.
“In 2022, Greece was the only country in the EU that managed to have more flights compared to 2019 – this did not happen by chance,” he said.
Inbound tourism in Greece in 2022 amounted to 27.8 million tourists, which shows an increase of 89.3 percent compared to 2021 (14.7 million). This generated €17.63 billion in travel revenue, a 67.9 percent increase over 2021) and a drop of just 3.0 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 and €18.17 billion.
“Everything we achieved was the result of a lot of hard work and a well thought out plan that we implemented together with the GNTO, the Hellenic Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, the Hellenic Hotel Federation, Marketing Greece, all industry professionals and the thousands of tourism workers “, Kikilias added, thanking everyone for “excellent” cooperation for the good of tourism.
Deputy Minister of Tourism resigned Sofia Zaharaki also referred to the “extremely” productive collaboration the ministry had with GNTO and Marketing Greece on the post-Covid restart of Greek tourism.
“The restart of tourism was done in a way that was really an example for other countries to follow… All this forms an excellent basis for this year’s success in tourism,” she said, wishing Dreta well in his duties as interim tourism minister.
Greece’s interim government was sworn in on Friday following the country’s May 21 national elections. Greece’s New Democracy party failed to secure a majority and party leaders refused to form a coalition government.
The caretaker government will lead Greece to a second round of elections at the end of June. Ioannis Sarmasthe chairman of the Audit Chamber, has been appointed acting prime minister.
I follow GTP headlines in Google News to keep up with the latest on tourism and travel in Greece.