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Greece Aims to Be Hotspot for LGBTQ+ Travelers

Greece Hotspot for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Acropolis view from Monastiraki Square. Credit: C Messier /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Greece aims to become a hotspot for LGBTQ+ travelers Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said after she signed a memorandum of cooperation with Queer Destinations company on Thursday.

At an event presenting the Tourism Ministry’s strategy to attract more LGBTQ+ visitors to the country, Kefalogianni said that Greece is the first country in Europe to open its arms to the community, and this agreement reflects the values Greece wants to promote as a tourism destination.

“As a country that cares about equality, diversity and inclusion, Greece recognizes the importance of creating an environment where all travelers feel welcome. This objective runs through all our other main objectives and policies in the Ministry of Tourism,” Kefalogianni said during a press conference.

How will Greece attract LGBTQ+ travelers?

The community represents over 10 percent of the global demand and nearly 16 percent of total expenditures in the tourism sector, which in absolute numbers exceeds $195 billion.

Greek initiatives include connecting the ministry’s national strategy with those of local destinations; amending the framework regulating hotel-customer relations; rating tourist accommodation on the degree of staff awareness and services to the LGBTQ+ community, and building relationships with specialized travel agencies and organizations abroad.

Kefalogianni said the ministry will soon carry out communication actions to promote LGBTQ+ tourism in Greece and also launch a special campaign to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community.

“There will be promotion through social media that Greece is a friendly country,” she said, adding that the Visit Greece website will soon be updated with places of interest, an interactive map and useful information for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Queer Destinations has a presence in 14 countries and trains tourism professionals to cater to needs of LGBTQ+ travelers. It networks with over 300 partners, including hotels. It assists businesses in adapting their products and ensuring the safety of all customers, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Greece approves same-sex marriage

The campaign to attract LGBTQ+ travelers to Greece follows the approval by the parliament in February of a law legalizing same-sex marriage.

It was a landmark reform promoted by the conservative government over the opposition of the country’s powerful Orthodox Church.

“The vote has passed: as of tonight, Greece is proud to become the 16th EU country to legislate marriage equality,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis posted on X. “This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece — a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” he added.

Mitsotakis, who personally spearheaded the bill, had urged lawmakers to “boldly abolish a serious inequality” in Greek democracy that had rendered same-sex families “invisible”.

Same-sex couples can now also adopt in Greece, but not have a baby through a surrogate.

Related: Europe, US Congratulate Greece on Same-Sex Marriage Law

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