Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters that tourism arrivals to Greece last year dropped by around 1% while tourism exchange receipts increased by some 1%. “This means quality improvements have led to an increase in tourism revenue,” he said.
The minister went on to outline government tourism policies regarding tourism education, investment subsidies and efforts been carried out for a closer cooperation between the state and the private sector. In particular, he announced plans for a more active National Tourism Council and the creation of a tourism chamber.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also announced the creation of an official Internet tourism portal. The pilot site begins operation this month. Within this site, according to the minister, a visitor will find all tourism forms that are available in every corner of the country.
Concerning the state company Hellenic Tourism Properties, the minister said that it expects to post a profit of 107 million euros annually. “Seventy percent of this profit goes to the Hellenic Tourism Organization to fund its festivals and advertising and promotion programs,” said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.
For the moment, however, the tourism organization has put most of its advertising and promotion plans on the back burner pending the outcome of the Iraq crisis.