H.E. Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism, Government of Greece, has been awarded a prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Champion Award at the 2019 Global Summit in Seville, Spain, for her country’s tireless work on Destination Stewardship.
The annual WTTC Global Champion Awards recognise outstanding public officials or countries who, through their leadership, have made a difference through pioneering public policies and initiatives that have increased the competitiveness of the sector within their respective countries. The WTTC Global Champion Award for Destination Stewardship recognises proactive and thoughtful leadership in working to overcome issues of uneven seasonality to improve the year-round tourism experience.
The government of Greece is setting an example to the world by extending its tourist season throughout the country. Furthermore, the industry has engaged in this vision by supporting tourism businesses and destinations to increase average visitor spending and reducing seasonality. Policies such as the extension of the summer tourism season, the development of thematic tourism, and the promotion of new destinations and services (such as wellness and medical tourism) are expected to create new revenue streams by attracting visitors all year round resulting in a significant raise in the ‘shoulder’ and low seasons.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC commented, “The issue of destination stewardship is critical to the long-term sustainable growth our sector. One solution to tourism overcrowding is to distribute tourists more effectively throughout the year and across different sites thereby improving the visitor experiences for everyone. Greece has been bold in not only recognising this but embedding it into their strategy and ethos. For this reason, Greece’s success in reducing seasonality while increasing tourism revenue marks it out as a clear global champion.”
The award was presented at the Gala Dinner of the WTTC Global Summit in Seville, Spain, on Wednesday 3 April 2019.