The British Undersecretary of Tourism gave Greek tourism a “vote of confidence”, predicting that after two years of hardship due to the pandemic, “millions of British tourists” will flock to Greece again this year. In an interview with “NEA” newspaper, Nigel Handleston revealed that bilateral talks are underway to increase the number of flights to and from Greece.

More flights

Mr. Handleston attributed the love for Greece on the part of UK citizens to the “majestic” culture, incredible landscapes, unique hospitality and, of course, for the fantastic food and drink. As he noted he has travelled to Greece nine times, and hopes to visit Greece again this year, which as he said is a safe destination.

Impressive bookings

British bookings to Greek destinations have risen to impressive levels, as Greek Ambassador to London Ioannis Raptakis told NEA. EOT officials estimate that arrivals from Britain will approach the levels of 2019. At that time, Greece attracted more than 3.8 million tourists from the United Kingdom, which was the top market for Greece, surpassing Germany.

Mr. Handleton noted the excellent cooperation he has had with the Greek government and the meeting he had with his Greek counterpart at the World Travel Market exhibition in London after which they have had frequent conversations. “We have excellent relations and strong cultural ties with Greece. We are very proud that millions of Britons go to Greece every year for holidays. It is wonderful that this will continue now that the travels have started again,” the Undersecretary noted.

Greeks visiting UK

Mr. Handleton also doted on the Greeks who visit Britain every year, noting that they visit the UK for the different experience offered, British culture, the landscapes and the food. “We want the Greeks who visit us to have a good time, whether they come for tourism or to see friends and relatives or for business reasons. We will always warmly welcome the Greeks,” he said adding that there is a large Greek community in Britain. The conservative politician from Lincolnshire in East England says he is optimistic that the tourism industry will recover.

On the Parthenon Sculptures

In addition to Undersecretary of Tourism (under the Ministry of Culture), Handleston also maintains the Cultural Heritage portfolio, but when asked if the Sculptures will return to Athens, Handleston chose to respond with the well-known adage used by the British government:

“This issue concerns the British Museum, which makes its decisions independently of the government. I can not make any further comment.”

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