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Gerassimos L. Fokas

Gerassimos L. Fokas President, Hellenic Chamber of HotelsPresident,
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels

Philoxenia 2008 greeting.

The present tourism year, which is coming to an end, was not an easy year. The oil crisis and the international economic downturn have already affected and are expected to continue to plague global tourism travel.

Tourism, although it is resistant to crises and catastrophes (natural disasters, wars, terrorism) it is less resistant to the difficult economic circumstances that households face.

Nowadays, destinations are chosen by the criterion of cost, which results to shorter trips of smaller duration.

Our country this year faced circumstances that received negative publicity abroad (earthquakes, food scandal, etc.) while it suffered a major -unjustified in terms of production costs- costliness wave.

Let us not forget that Greece is a euro zone country and therefore it is not particularly attractive to tourists from countries that trade in dollars due to the holiday prices.

There is only one way out (to this unfavorable situation which could have a long duration): The insistence on quality at a reasonable price.

Thus we will have to face -according to the figures we are already facing- an unfavorable situation which could have a long duration.

It goes without saying that our way out is complex and requires the participation of all involved.

There is only one way out: The insistence on quality at a reasonable price.

This requires a coordinated promotion of the necessary infrastructure projects, adjustment measures and targeted promotional actions from the state; a responsible business policy and practice from the tour operators; a more sensitive approach from those who offer additional services to tourists (and to all of us); and an understanding from society.

The escape from this situation is a challenge for our country, a challenge that must be won.

Within the framework of such a choice, there is no place for excessive pessimism, which in any case does not appear to be justified.

The cooperation of those involved in Greece’s tourism management (co-competent ministries and administrative bodies) is essential, as only this can ensure an appropriate and effective plan to tackle all of the problems.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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