Summer is almost here and with it high prospects for a strong recovery of the Greek economy. The gradual abolition of the restrictive measures and the full opening of the market, even with some restrictions still in force, has brought a sense of optimism for the recovery of the Greek economy and the country’s return to a growth trajectory as predicted by international financial institutions. Bookings in the tourism sector, although lower than in the pre-Covid-19 years, are the highest amongst all countries in the wider Mediterranean region, and the revenues in this sector could rise to three times higher than last year, which will help Greece to close the fiscal year on a positive note. Furthermore, given that the implementation of the recovery plan, which was very positively evaluated by our EU partners, is due to start within the year, we have every reason to be optimistic. Of course, we are not done with the coronavirus or with those longstanding issues and characteristics of our society that have often held us back over the years. The pandemic may have entered a phase of recession, but the danger remains; and while the vaccination program is progressing rapidly, we should always keep in mind that we must continue taking the necessary precautions as we have learned so far.
Over the coming years, global development will be based on a number of key fields including environmental conservation, alternative energy and energy conservation, digital transformation, manufacturing automation, IoT, AI and VR technologies, biotechnology, and agrotechnology. If our country wants to be able to keep up and compete in the future world economy and international markets, then she must move quickly with a strategy and a plan. It is imperative, as I have often said, to take critical decisions and apply important reforms—even though this is likely to disrupt long established paradigms and modes of operation. We cannot do otherwise. Which brings us back to our society’s longstanding issues: The world is changing rapidly and we cannot afford to be left behind as a result of entrenched anachronistic perceptions and decades-old convenient—yet deeply problematic—systems still trying to dictate the course of this country.
For our part, the Chamber is coming out of the pandemic period as dynamic as ever, moving forward with its new Digital Talks & Events 2021 series and participating in international events and various meetings with Greek and foreign government representatives. We are also launching a number of new initiatives, including the Thessaloniki Future Thinking Dialogues in June and the US Pavilion at the 1st DEFEA Defense and Security Exhibition in July, as well as select, highly focused international activities to be carried out in collaboration with associations in the US and the wider Mediterranean region.
As we slowly emerge into the post-pandemic world, I wish you all to be well and safe.