THE FEMALE FACE OF GREEK TOURISM
Source: Unique Destination
Elena Kountoura was also a source of inspiration for photographer and visual artist Serge Lutens. In 1996, having already achieved international fame, she returned to Greece to get involved with magazine publishing. She had, from early age, pursued major volunteer and charity work in both Greece and abroad, especially with regard to the protection of human rights as well as the rights of women and children. She served as Ambassador to UNESCO and UNICEF. In 2004 she vigorously entered the field of politics. Since then, she has been elected 6 times by the Greeks. In 2015, at the most pivotal point for Greece, she became a Minister of Tourism.. With Greece’s new national tourism policy, Greece has recorded the highest tourist performance of all time, with successive records on both arrivals and revenues. Moreover, Elena Kountoura has achieved strong institutional presence and representation in the global decision-making centers for Tourism.
My family supported me and raised me with the principles, values and high ideals which I carry with me throughout my life. I started at a very young age in sports, with discipline, self-restraint, and persistent training. I have been a member of the National Field and Track Team for many years, participating in high-jump and 100-meter hurdles and achieving records in both Pan-Hellenic as well as international events. Through education and my involvement in sports, I was armed with the necessary values and characteristics in order to compete in the arena of life, by setting high goals and trying with all my might to reach them. Just after finishing my university studies, I got involved with the world fashion industry. I’ve lived for fifteen years abroad and being lucky enough to speak many foreign languages, I got the chance to travel all over the world and get in touch with different cultures, traditions, ethics and customs, coming from a wide variety of people and attitudes.
I took over the portfolio of Greek Tourism in January 2015. I immediately implemented the new national regional tourism policy with a vision and aim to make Greece a world-renowned destination for Tourism 365 days a year. We have successively achieved a record highest tourist performance of all times. We lengthened the summer tourist season. We developed thematic tourism. We advertised new Greek destinations. We opened new foreign markets for high buyers. We have created the needed attractive environment for attracting high added value investments.
We have implemented more than 350 new tourism projects over the last three years. In our negotiations and strategies of cooperation with international travel groups, we have vigorously demonstrated the new fascinating holiday: throughout the year experiences in Greece. History and the cultural wealth of the country that gave birth to Democracy and the Olympic Games, philosophy, the arts, sports and ecumenical ideals are at the forefront. We promote our uniqueness as the largest island complex in the Mediterranean and Europe, with 16,000 km of coastline, more than 100 islands ready to welcome guests with their unique beauty and renowned Greek hospitality. Our country has cosmopolitan destinations but also hidden paradises. We highlight the hinterland with more than 3000 authentic villages and traditional settlements, religious-pilgrimage treasures, infinite options for alternative activities in nature, high-level infrastructure for health and wellness tourism. We promote marine tourism, cruise, yachting and diving, winter tourism in mountain resorts and ski resorts, sportstraining tourism, conference, city trips and of course our unique gastronomy based on the nutritious and healthy Greek diet.