The Greek tourism sector will seek its portion of the European Union’s Next Generation recovery fund of which Greece stands to receive €32 billion in grants and loans.

Ekathemerini reports that the COVID-19 pandemic clearly reflected Greece’s reliance on tourism and also made it clear that only businesses following modern trends and requirements would be sustainable.

In making their requests for the EU funds, the tourist enterprises will focus on upgrading sustainable energy projects; digital transition and modernisation projects for their sector.

“Tourism activity must be perceived as an ecosystem of value chains driven by experiences offered by destinations, with each country being able to form its own unique chain of value and experiences,” said Ilias Kikilias, general director at the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE).

Mr Kikilias said that Spain, Italy and Portugal were Greece’s main competitors in Europe.

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“We are superior (to them) in friendliness, service, in accommodation, food quality and the sense of security, but we lag in matters mainly related to public infrastructure and the operation of destinations, such as cleanliness, town planning, the state of archaeological sites, information etc,” he said.

“Consequently the further upgrading and maturing of the tourism product must rely on the pillars of sustainability, digital technology, the necessary public infrastructure including healthcare, and the efficient management and promotion of destinations as unique chains of value and experiences. Any enterprises, destinations or countries left behind will suffer a huge blow to their competitiveness,” said Mr Kikilias.