Philoxenia 2003 greeting.
Unfortunately, we see no change towards the better for incoming tourism next year. Last year, and the year before, incoming dropped five percent and six percent respectively and for this year we foresee as much as a fifteen-percent drop in arrivals. The drop in arrivals from America has been phenomenal.
Greece, for the past two years, had promised ten billion drachmas for advertising and promotion when competing countries spend four times that amount, and unlike here they do not interrupt promotion of their countries during difficult times. After the tourism attack against the twin towers on September 11, 2001, a crisis committee was set up within the National Tourism Council to confront in the best way possible the tourism crisis that broke out in our country. The committee was disbanded and absolutely nothing was accomplished.
Very recently, Prime Minister Simitis announced new measures for tourism and radical changes within the Hellenic Tourism Organization as today we have two power centers with ‘responsibilities without responsibilities.’ Of course, it is positive that changes are being made, but must it take so many years of experiment within the Greek tourism sector just to find ourselves in the same position we were in thirty years ago.
Let us hope the 2004 Olympic Games will function by itself as a magnet for Greece and contribute to Greek tourism. May the good Lord help Greek tourism, as we at the Panhellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises can’t see any more help than this forthcoming for 2004.