NBG Supports Greek Tourism

Hristos Pantazis, Thessaloniki Regional Manager at the National Bank of Greece, on the crucial role of tourism in the Greek economy and how NBG is working to bolster the sector

Can you tell us briefly why the National Bank of Greece sponsored the 3rd Tourism Conference, which took place in Thessaloniki this May?

The National Bank of Greece was founded in 1841. It was the first bank in the newly established Greek state, and it has played a defining role in the country’s economic life during its 177 years of operations. That is why it sponsors this conference on tourism: Tourism is a key sector of the Greek economy.

In what ways does the National Bank of Greece support tourism the country?

We support the tourism sector by offering a range of specialized products and services. We contribute to bolstering the competitiveness of tourism businesses with tools that can be adapted to the sector’s particular needs and characteristics. These include lower POS charges, discounted remittances, and insurance programs.

We finance the needs of both small business and large enterprises operating in the sector. We offer financing programs for constructing, completing and repairing their buildings and other infrastructure, as well as for operations.

We help businesses throughout their participation in Greek and European funding programs, including the NSRF and development laws.

What are your thoughts on the future of tourism in Greece?

Tourism has been a key pillar of growth during the economic crisis.

Yet despite it being a highly dynamic sector, there is a consistent gap between the Greek tourism sector and those in competitor countries, meaning there is potential for further growth. Specifically, there are two key aspects of the Greek tourism product that are amenable to improvement strategies: the percentage of tourists with high purchasing power and seasonality.

Consequently, we must focus our efforts on extending the tourism season, providing high quality services, supporting high extraversion, and increasing the percentage of high-income tourists. We have a lot of faith in Greece and in the Greek people, and because of that, I am certain that things will continue to improve.

How was the 3rd Tourism Conference? What impressions did it leave?

The topics on the agenda, the detailed and well-argued proposals, and the make-up of the audience itself were all of a very high standard. And we all gained a thorough understanding of the steps we must take moving forward to the future. The National Bank of Greece participated with a delegation of 15 senior executives whose work focuses on tourism. They had the opportunity to interact with all conference participants, answer questions, and demonstrate that the National Bank of Greece will continue supporting the Greek tourism product.

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