One of the most encouraging signs of sustained growth for tourism flows from the US to Greece has been the fact that the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) asked HACT and tourism consultants MTC Group for its “Destination Expo 2018” conference to be held in Athens next year.
The decision was made during a recent meeting in New York between Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and ASTA Vice President Robert Duglin who also invited Kountoura to attend the ASTA Global Convention 2017, scheduled to take place in San Diego, California, between August 27-29.
The Greek capital was facing competition from Hanoi, Malta, Aqaba and Tel Aviv. The selection was made ahead of the ASTA conference in June in Washington. MTC head Notis Martakis had expressed his optimism that Athens will be chosen in the end.
The event is expected to contribute significantly to the promotion of Greek tourism, as it will give US tourism organizations and travel agencies the opportunity to visit Greece and elect it as a destination in the coming years. More than 80% of all travel agency bookings are made through ASTA members, the Greek tourism ministry stressed in an announcement.
The US market will be bringing more tourists and more revenues to Greece this year, according to the president of the Hellenic American Chamber of Tourism (HACT), George Trivizas.
Sales of travel packages to Greece for 2018 have already began and ASTA is among the world’s largest associations of travel professionals and about 70% of its members are American travel agencies, tour operators and companies while the remaining 30% are distributed all over the world.
Trivizas said that the number of Americans expected to visit Greece this year will rise to around 900,000 from 778,600 in 2016. Revenues from US visitors are set to revert to growth after the 22.8 percent annual decline recorded in 2016. They are now seen rising to 727.9 million euros in 2017.
The US market is crucial, as it is the world’s second biggest in terms of tourism spending (accounting for $121.5 billion last year) behind China (with $261.1 billion).