After nine months of difficult negotiations, Greek political leaders and members of the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) managed to get the European Union to promise 153.7 million euros, or about 51 billion drachmas, for Greek tourism projects.
EOT’s secretary general, Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, says the promised funds from the EU’s Second Framework Support Program package is tied to an additional 61 billion drachmas in investment funds from the private sector.
He says the 112 billion drachmas in total will go to 482 tourism projects. The lion’s share, about 16.5 billion drachmas, is slated for hotel modernization projects. Almost as much goes to projects to develop mountain, ecological, cultural and health tourism.
For projects in the maritime tourism sector, some 5.7 billion drachmas is programmed to create special marine tourism infrastructure.
Another 8.5 billion goes to projects by small- and medium-sized maritime tourism enterprises, and just over two billion drachmas is slated for a maritime information network.
The same EU package promises about 2.5 billion drachmas for tourism education projects.
According to recent studies, only 30% of those employed in the Greek tourism sector have completed some tourism studies. As well, a mere 12.9% of owners of tourism rented rooms have at least a minor amount of tourism education.