HELLENIC REPUBLIC
THE MINISTER
OF TOURISM

 

ELENA KOUNTOURA

MINISTER OF TOURISM

 

Elena Kountoura is the Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic, leading for three consecutive years one of the most dynamically growing sectors of the Greek economy.

 

She was born in Athens, she is married and is a mother of two wonderful sons.

 

Her name has been linked to success from her very early years.

 

Engaged to sports from the age of 12, Minister Elena Kountoura distinguished as a top athlete, member of the Greek National Track and Field Team. Champion of Greece for consecutive years, she holds several national records in high jump and the 100m hurdles, as well as national and international titles and awards.

 

She is a graduate of the University of Athens, Faculty of Science for Physical Education and Sports. She speaks three languages other than Greek: English, French and Spanish.

 

In 1984 she began her international career in the fashion industry. She collaborated with the largest and most prestigious fashion houses, and was known as the Face of Shiseido, having had an exclusive 10-year contract with the Japanese multinational cosmetics company, one of the longest contracts ever signed in the fashion industry. She was declared by CNN in the 90’s as one of the top 10 models of the world.

 

Upon her return to Greece in 1996, she began a successful career in the Greek publishing and media industry, as director and chief editor of several magazines specializing on women’s issues, family issues and social matters.

 

Her strong dedication to offer to the Greek people and bring positive change in their lives, led her to her next life chapter, politics. 

 

Minister Elena Kountoura has been elected six times as member of the Hellenic Parliament.

First time she was elected in 2004 as an MP for the first district of Athens Constituency with the Nea Dimokratia party, and was reelected in 2009.

In 2012, she was the first to join the Parliamentary Group of the Movement "ANEXARTITOI HELLINES" (“Independent Greeks”), ANEL, which was established and chaired by Panos Kammenos.

She  was  elected first in the Αthens A’ district with the “Independent Greeks” ballot, in all four last national elections, two in 2012 and two in 2015.

 

She was the Secretary of the Movement’s Parliamentary Group and was assigned with the overview of Tourism Affairs.

She has also served as

  • a member of the Greek Parliamentary Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
  • a member of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons,
  • and alternate member of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

 

In the coalition government of SYRIZA-ANEL formed in January 2015, with Prime Minister Mr. Alexis Tsipras, she  was handed the portfolio of tourism and appointed Minister of Tourism.

 

 

Minister Kountoura’s vision is to establish Greece as a global attractive destination for tourism 365 days a year. For that reason she focused on a new national tourism policy designed  and implemented since 2015.

 

With Minister Kountoura in charge, Greek tourism achieved consecutive historical records of 26 million international arrivals in 2015, 28 million in 2016, and for 2017 projected to reach 30 million.

 

The head of the UNWTO, Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, has addressed Greece’s success in tourism as a small miracle and a case study in crisis destination management and in several of his public speeches he congratulated the Greek government and the Minister Elena Kountoura, for achieving 7 per cent annual growth in Greek tourism, almost double the average growth of global tourism.

 

Her international efforts have been focused on empowering Greece’s global standing in the tourism sector. In the past three years, she has been participating in international travel shows and exhibitions, fora and meetings of the global travel industry for tourism, networking, new strategic partnerships and investment opportunities.

 

Greece and Minister Kountoura assumed  for the first time the Presidency in the OECD’s high-level meeting for Tourism (Paris, Oct. 2017), coinciding with the 100th anniversary of OECD’s Committee for Tourism meetings.

Following her initiative to conclude an agreement with the American Society of Travel Agents, Athens was chosen to host ASTA’s Destination Expo in April 2018.

 

She is also a member of the Executive global board of directors to the Euro American women's Council, one of the longest standing organizations, encouraging women’s leadership.

 

She represented Greece in the 18th Global Women in Leadership (WIL) Forum, held in Dubai in 2016, speaking on the role of women in leadership positions in economic, business, political and social activity and Greece’s national tourism policy. 

 

Amongst many other initiatives, Minister Kountoura has served as President of the Greek-Korean Friendship Group, and has been a Member of the Friendship Groups with countries such as France and Jordan. 

She has worked with and actively supports many nonprofit organizations, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Kivotos tou Kosmou, the Panathinaiki Women’s Union, Frontida, the Panhellenic Association of Cancer Volunteers  for a range of issues related to health, the environment, women’s and children’s rights, combating domestic violence, and for volunteerism

 

She is President of the non-profit Organization "Europa Donna Hellas", branch of the European Breast Cancer Coalition Europa Donna, aiming to raise awareness for the prevention of breast cancer and better health care for cancer patients.

 

She has been honored for her support in spreading the values of Paralympic Volunteerism in Greece, and in 2007 she was honored by the Greek Government as a Goodwill Ambassador for Social Volunteering.

 

 

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