Government action to help tourism out of its present predicament was promised early last month by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis. He announced the formation of an “Tourism Crisis Management Committee,” headed by the ministry’s tourism officials.
The immediate plan is to coordinate an action package aimed at diminishing the side effects of terrorist attacks on the business. The group’s main task will be to work out long-term deals with large tour operators in order to guarantee tourist inflows for the future. There is also a move to work more closely with foreign journalists and give them more fodder to promote Greece.
In its first session, the committee decided to set up a special mechanism to maintain and promote Greek tourism industry’s existing potential in the North American market. Basically, the idea is to restructure the existing promotion activities with greater emphasis on communication rather than direct advertising. It was also decided to work with U.S. tour operators that specialize in Greece with coop advertising schemes.
During the first session, which was attended by representatives from the travel agency, hotel and maritime sectors, as well as some directors from the tourism organization’s offices abroad, the committee decided to group proposals into two separate categories. The first relates to proposals from those that concentrate on the supply and demand of Greek tourism services. The second relates to proposals from those involved in the marine sector and those that concentrate on conference tourism and business travel to Athens.
Representatives from the country’s airports, the Civil Aviation Authority, Olympic Airways and foreign airlines will attend the committee’s next session. This group will set out their views on the issue of the cost of air transport. A subsequent session will be devoted to marine tourism.
The Hellenic Tourism Organization‘s secretary general, Dimitris Georgarakis, said the proposals from agencies and operators in each tourism sector will provide the raw material for the formulation of policies in the face of the current global crisis in the industry.