The government says it will present a comprehensive restructuring plan for the country’s tourism administration. The announcement followed the replacement of government tourism leaders and the reshuffling of responsibilities among the Development Ministry’s General Secretariat for Tourism and the Hellenic Tourism Organization – Constantinos Botopoulos was appointed to head the ministry’s tourism secretariat and Nikos Dimadis took over as the head of the tourism organization.
Tourism leaders in the private sector say they are not sure whether these changes are tailored to suit specific individuals or to create a mechanism for the solution of sector’s problems, which are substantial and require immediate measures.
They refer to worrying reports on the prospects for the number of arrivals from the UK next year. They cite recent data by market research company Nielsen, which takes the view that if immediate measures are not adopted, Greece will suffer a double-digit percentage drop in arrivals from the UK, Greece’s largest market source. Bookings in October, according to press reports, were down 33.5 percent from a year earlier, with the most affected areas being Rodos (41.5 percent), Zakynthos (38.5 percent) and Kos (35 percent).
These same reports say that Greece was ill equipped to face competition from the western Mediterranean in the period of instability after September 11, in terms of infrastructure, promotion and level of services.
Being inside the eurozone also means the country cannot use devaluation as a possible competition tool. It is also greatly dependent on charter flights and tour operators, and is more expensive than its competitors outside the eurozone, such as Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.