Published on : Saturday, July 1, 2017
Dimitsana is experiencing tourism high these days. Its hotels are brimming, its cafes are full, and its footpaths and monasteries are attracting loads of tourists daily. Greeks here are hard at work, running boutique guesthouses, eateries and bars in the stone mansions that line Dimitsana’s cobbled streets.
Labis Baxevanos, the village’s deputy mayor said, “Business is very good. So good that a lot of younger couples have come to work here since the country’s economic crisis began.”
Debt-stricken Greece is braced for record-breaking 30m holidaymakers this year, almost three times its population. The country’s tourism minister Elena Kountoura said that between January and May there had been a noticeable increase in arrivals, revenues and occupancy rates with summer bookings in some areas rising by as much as 70%. Travel receipts grew by 2.4% or €23m (£20m).
Dimitsana, once famous for the gunpowder mills that produced the firepower in the nation’s 1821 war of independence against Ottoman rule, is emblematic of the entrepreneurial spirit taking root as a result of the boom. Tourism is Dimitsana’s lifejacket now. Increasingly, the sector has helped boost much-needed job creation, according to data released by the labour ministry.
Greece, more than any other Mediterranean country, has reaped the benefits of tour operators pulling out of Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia, destinations now considered a security risk following terrorist attacks. Arrivals from the UK have jumped by 40%, with about 3 million Britons expected. Visitors from Germany and the US have also surged, with 900,000 Americans due to arrive this year.