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Airline Specialist Takes Over Tourism General Secretariat

Demetris Georgarakis, an electronic engineer with some 20 years experience in the airline sector (Olympic Airways) has been appointed to head the newly created tourism general secretariat, which is directly under the development ministry.

In essence, the 49-year-old engineer replaces Hellenic Tourism Organization‘s secretary general, Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, who has been demoted to the position of “president” of the organization under Mr. Georgarakis. Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis says that under the new formation of the organization there is no longer any need of a secretary general or a board of directors.

The new tourism secretariat is to control all regional tourism offices, the country’s casinos, the tourism organization’s subsidiaries, and will implement the government’s general tourism policies.

According to the tourism organization’s reorganization chart, the tourism secretariat is responsible for the Hellenic Tourism Organization and its subsidiary Hellenic Tourism Properties, Tourism Education Schools, the Hellenic Festival and the National Tourism Council, which is to be upgraded to include three work groups along with its present membership.

As well, again according to the organizational chart, the secretariat will head Regional Tourism Directorates, Tourism Ports, the Casino Commission, the Casino Inspectors group, and all management as well as the organization’s financial departments. With the new organizational structure, Yiannis Stefanides, a diplomatic travel professional who was the longest-running president of the organization, retires.

Major changes are anticipated under the new secretariat, and most likely they will happen quickly as the tourism organization must find new quarters and move to there everything it wishes to hold onto, and transfer elsewhere everyone and everything it does not prefer to hold onto.

The organization recently picked up a final lease extension and now has until the end of this year to vacate its huge present quarters in downtown Athens. The move, however, gives Mr. Georgarakis an opportunity to scale down the tourism organization and revamp its entire structure. Only two directorates, that of development and marketing, are expected to survive the restructuring.

The job of the development directorate will be to analyze and record the tourism market’s general performance – professionals in the private sector insist that the organization must adopt the World Tourism Organization‘s satellite account method. At the same time, it will direct investors and lay out guidelines for new tourism investment projects. In addition, the directorate will keep a close eye on the quality of tourism services offered in general and will promote new forms of tourism.

The marketing directorate’s major task will be to implement the government’s tourism promotion campaigns at both home and abroad, with monies now secured from Greek casinos. Along the same lines, the directorate will implement an on-going market research program, particularly within markets outside of Greece’s borders.

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