Greece expects a record 27 million tourists this summer, raising hopes that the vacationers will give a much-needed boost to the country's struggling economy, a top Greek official said Monday.
Lefteris Kretsos, Greece's secretary general of communications, told reporters during a trip to New York that despite continued austerity measures and the flow of migrants, Greece was hoping that the number of tourists would surpass the 26.5 million visitors it attracted last year.
"Twenty-seven million is a big target - it's a milestone," Kretsos said. "There are also estimates that it will be higher, something like 27.5 [million]."
He said that Greece was now seeing a "more collective and grassroots approach" to tourism services, which is contributing to the positive outlook.
"The biggest tourist agencies are confident about Greece. They provide a lot of packages," he said.
He added that tourists likely would be driven to Greece because of instability in other Mediterranean countries, which would otherwise be competitors.
Kretsos noted that he was optimistic about the Greek economy, which has been struggling under a debt crisis requiring the country to seek three international bailouts since 2010.
He said the country had demonstrated an "impressive performance" in increasing public revenues and exports and attracting EU funds since the latest bailout agreement passed last July.
"For the first time since 2010, we believe that we can really turn the corner and move to a new period of economic and political stability," Kretsos said.