No changes appear forthcoming within the Hellenic Tourism Organization as a result of Greece’s national elections held last month. The country’s new Minister for Development, who is responsible for tourism, Nikos Christodoulakis, met with the organization’s leaders a few days after his appointment and made no mention of intended changes.
The organization’s president, Yiannis Stefanides, and secretary general, Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, hold the record of the longest-running heads of the organization within its recent history. Mr. Stefanides, one of Greece’s most experienced tourism professionals, and a born diplomat, has held the post as president since 1993. He has welcomed seven new secretary generals to the organization during that time span.
Mr. Yiannakopoulos may not have the seven years of the president, but his 13 months in his present position is somewhat of a record since the average stay of a tourism organization secretary general over the past years is 9.5 months.
He should be able to reinforce that record, provided there are no personal conflicts with the new minister, as his reputation at the organization is a respected one. During the past year, he has put in some long and hard hours to bring some necessary changes to fruition.
Changes included a presidential decree that places rented rooms and apartments into a quality category called “Keys” and the hotel sector under an international star system. The latter still is somewhat in the cold, but the former is being implemented. Neither, however, was easy for the secretary general to get the required agreement on from the interested parties.
Other positive changes included the reformation of the National Tourism Council and the creation of a company to handle the organization’s properties and the turning over of these properties to that company, which is run under private sector criteria but belongs wholly to the state.
New Development Minister
Nikos Christodoulakis has been appointed Greece’s new development minister after the recent re-election of the Greek Socialist government. Mr. Christodoulakis was the deputy minister for finance in the previous government. Along with Mr. Christodoulakis, new appointments to the development ministry, which is responsible for the tourism sector, include deputy ministers Alekos Kalafatos and newcomer to the political scene, Milena Apostolakis.
Mr. Christodoulakis was born in Armeni, Chania, in 1952. He studied at the Athens Polytechnic and attended post-graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, in England. After graduation, he was appointed professor of economic analysis at the Economic University of Athens, and in 1984 at the department of applied economics of the University of Cambridge.