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Tourism To Get 750 Billion Drachma Investment Injection

Some 750 billion drachmas in direct and indirect support goes to the country’s tourism sector by the year 2006. That’s 25 percent of the total national and regional programs for competitiveness and growth, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said last month.

At a press call, Mr. Christodoulakis said that funding will be secured from a Third Community Support Framework combined with private and government investment, and that the entire plan will be unveiled around September 15.

He said the tourism sector would also benefit from investments in other sectors (energy, transport, environment and culture) that would affect the quality and the composition of the country’s tourist product.  The minister said the biggest part of public spending for tourism, around 80 percent, will be earmarked for private investment, a sign of the government’s determination to improve the sector’s competitiveness and boost employment.

Tourism enterprises, said the minister, could easily pick up a quarter of the 150 billion drachmas in direct funding from the EU support program. Monies will be available for support studies for small and medium tourism enterprises and for general support of these companies.

As well, funds will go toward special tourism infrastructure, cultural tourism activities, promotion, education and technical assistance. Tourism leaders from the private sector will have forwarded proposals for any changes wished in the basic program prior to September 15.

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