Although not much came out of it, the country’s National Tourism Council met last month for the first time under the present government. But the country’s tourism minister did announce a promise a 9-point legislation for tourism development and investment.
The minister informed the members of the council -which included representatives from every Greek tourism sector- that the new legislation planned centers on hotel investment in over-developed areas where old units can be replaced with new modern ones, on general tourism investment opportunities and measures for investment in the holiday home market.
He also put forward the old idea of a multi-ministry body that would speed up paperwork for big investment projects.
Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos also said he expects an increase in tourism arrivals this year and much better results in 2006 and 2007 thanks to the government’s strong tourism promotion program underway.
The tourism council was created some 11 years ago to inform government on the problems confronting the sector and provide solutions to the same. And while as many as 50 representatives attended such meets, the council has yet to be taken serious by government quarters.
A prime example was the meeting organized by the previous government immediately after the terrorism attack in New York. Members of the council forwarded numerous long- and short-term proposals to confront the expected downturn in travel to Greece. Government listened but failed to execute any of the measures.