Tourism Among Priorities On PM’s Agenda
The government’s goal is the preservation and support of Greece’s tourism product’s potential and everyone should aim to transform the global crisis into a national opportunity, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said during the 17th general assembly of the Association for Greek Tourism Enterprises.
During his speech, the prime minister made reference to the measures he had announced in late December 2008 to support the tourism industry and spoke of the government’s plan for an exit from the global economic crisis.
According to Mr. Karamanlis, the government gives priority: to the support of sectors that suffer the greatest pressures; to enter a fiscal consolidation path; and to strengthen the economically disadvantaged.
The prime minister stressed that the Greek government, in recognition of the economic and social importance of tourism, will exhaust every possibility for its support.
“I dare say that the Greek government has done more for tourism than it has done for any other sector,” said Mr. Karamanlis.
In addition, the Prime Minister also recommended hoteliers and tourism businesses to reduce their prices in conjunction with the provision of a high level of service.
On his part the president of the Association for Greek Tourism Enterprises, Nikos Angelopoulos, underlined a main demand of tourism professionals.
“I dare say that the Greek government has done more for tourism than it has done for any other sector”
The association’s president said that coordination among ministries jointly involved in tourism to be conducted by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis himself or by an institution accountable directly to him.
Mr. Angelopoulos also made reference to “discontinuities” in the performance of the Greek tourism policy due to frequent changes in the tourism leadership.
“Over the past 17 years, 42 different individuals have passed through the tourism ministry as ministers and deputy ministers and as presidents and general secretaries for the Greek National Tourism Organization,” he said.
As a solution, the association proposed the establishment of a general secretary of tourism who would serve a minimum five-year term.
Mr. Angelopoulos also underlined the fact of the late start of the promotion of Greece’s international advertising campaign.
He said that it was not necessary to redesign Greece’s advertising campaign as the process lasted until May and the campaign was just recently introduced to the international market.
In reference to the government’s support measures for tourism, the association’s president said that the measures should not only support hotels but marine tourism and travel agencies as well.
He reminded the government of three pending problems of the tourism industry: the cabotage law for cruise ships; the monopoly of ground handling at airports; and the untouchable privileges of KTEL buses and taxi cabs.
The prime minister, however had mentioned in his speech that it is impossible to give full responses to the needs and demands that are raised by each axis separately.
“Policies with an one-sided goal would cause imbalance and unpleasant side-effects,” he said.