Indian tour operators in Acropolis
Indian tourists visiting Greece have increased significantly over the recent years. They see the country, that has been the cradle of Western civilization, as a safe and ideal place for the family vacation. They also find people very hospitable and sharing many common customs, habits and perceptions, formed through a long cultural tradition that links the two countries for more than 2500 years.
“Greece is increasing in popularity among Indian travelers and is, in fact, one of the fastest-growing destinations in Europe for travelers from India,” said Ranjeet Oak, chief business officer — holidays at MakeMyTrip in an interview to the Times of India.
Travel to Greece has become cheaper for Indians, with the rupee having strengthened against the euro and the significant drop in prices due to the economic crisis. According to the statistics of recent years, the Indian tourists who arrived in Greece from India in 2016 amounted to approximately 25,000 showing an increase of 20% compared with 2015, while in 2017 growth is expected to reach 30%. A few thousands tourists of Indian origin visiting Greece from European and Arab countries should be added to the number. It is worth noting that only for the speeches of Morari Bapu on Rama and Socrates which he gave in a central hotel of Athens in 2016, there came more than 1,000 Indian devotees from Europe and America. Besides, hundreds of Indian naturalist choose to spend their holidays in Greece combining them with yoga exercises, sports, and natural (yunani) treatment. More than 100 Indian Professors participated in the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy that took place in Athens in 2013, while many visit Greece annually to participate in international conferences on theater, dance and other arts and sciences.
The unrivaled beauty of the Greek landscape has become known to all Bollywood lovers around the world through the Indian film productions that have been made in recent years in Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, Rhodes, Nafplio, Attiki and other locations. As a result the number of Indian tourists who choose to spend their holidays in the Aegean islands has increased. Some even choose to have their wedding ceremony and honeymoon in Greece. For the convenience of the spouses-to-be and their guests the agencies specializing in organization of Indian marriages have been set up. They can provide whatever is required for the successful organization of a wedding ceremony according to the Indian customs. For the lovers of the Indian cuisine there are simple and luxurious Indian restaurants in the major cities and tourist islands, while international festivals include music and dances from various parts of India in their programs.
Indian wedding in Greece – Vangelis photography
Over the last years a continuously growing economy of India has created a rather strong middle class who travel abroad. In 2012 fifteen million Indian tourists traveled outside of India and the number is expected to reach fifty million in 2020. To attract a part of travelers towards Greece systematic efforts have been made in recent years by private, municipal and state agencies. Αt the press conference organized in Mumbai, Ms. Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism of Greece said, “Greek National Tourism Organization’s (GNTO) target is to create increased destination awareness about lesser known cities of great geophysical, historical and cultural importance and to position Greece in the top-5 list of European destinations, for Indian tourists.”
GNTO participated for first time at the largest International Tourism Fair of India «Outbound Travel Mart» (OTM) held in Mumbai from 21 to 23 February 2017. The municipal enterprise of Kavala “DIMOPHELEIA” participated also in the same Fair for the last two years and its moto “Journey to the land of Alexander the Great” (सिकंदर महान के देश की यात्रा) fascinated the Indians. The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (ΗΑΤΤΑ) invited and extended full hospitality to 70 members of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (ΟΤΟΑΙ) who came to broaden the professional collaboration and accommodate a strong demand of Indians for trips to Greece. HATTA has also participated in major tourism fairs in India and won several distinctions.
Greek tourism ministers have also repeatedly visited India and have signed intergovernmental agreements. The greatest development, however, in incoming tourism is believed to result from the direct air link between Greece and six Indian international airports that was recently approved by the governments of the two countries and will make Greece a direct destination as well as a transit point for Indian travelers to other European countries.