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Greece’s Tourism Sector Fighting to Survive

Greek hoteliers described tourism as being at its lowest ebb in 30 years, “and the government is doing nothing to help,” said Vassilis Miniades, president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers’ Association, during a recent press call. He said that the Hellenic Tourism Organization has done little or nothing to advertise Greece, and Athens in particular, as a tourist destination, and that figures for September confirmed their fears.

The association told the press conference that arrivals at the main airports had fallen between 6.6 and 15.7 percent year-on-year, while hotel occupancy has declined 10 percent. Georgos Kaligeros, secretary general of the association, said that the loss in tourism receipts this year would reach a minimum of 10%. “We have reached a point where we don’t care who or what type of organization or administration makes tourism policies, what we do demand are clear rules of the game,” he said.

Spyros Divanis, first vice president of the association, said the government has no tourism policy and that even if some tourism decisions are taken they are lost in mounds of paper work and not implemented. “I see 40% of Greek hotels changing hands over the next five years,” he said, “because expenses continue to increase while revenue continues to decline.”

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