Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos recently claimed to be optimistic in regards to the direction of where this year’s tourism season is headed. For the first time he estimated that there would not be a double-digit percentage decline in arrivals from abroad.
During a press conference held last month Mr. Markopoulos expressed his satisfaction with the current data on air arrivals to Greece for the first five months of 2009 that showed a drop of 8.8 percent – despite the global economic crisis.
The minister also said that domestic tourism is estimated to move on high levels, but he declined to make an assessment on the tourism foreign exchange flow.
Mr. Markopoulos announced the dissolution of the Tourism Development Company (ETA) from the Greek National Tourism Organization and its merge with the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation.
However, he assured that competitions run by ETA would proceed as planned while the merge should be settled by the end of the year.
In regards to the promotion of Greece as a destination, Mr. Markopoulos said that the tourism ministry would directly launch a new international competition for next year’s advertising campaign.
“Our aim is to be ready by this December in order to have a strong presence in 2010,” he said.
The minister also said that an architectural competition would be launched for the restyling of GNTO stands for major international tourism fairs.
Lastly, Mr. Markopoulos said that the ministry is making an effort for Greece to host the international yacht race Regata Louis Vouiton in the waters of the Aegean.
He said that if Greece wins the bid and holds the race next year the incoming tourism traffic would be massive.
“The last race was held in Valencia and 300,000 visitors from all over the world traveled to attend,” he said.