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Tourism Minister Speaks At EU Meeting

The tourism industry’s role amid the current global economic crisis was discussed in Brussels recently at the European Union Competitiveness Council. The discussion was set up by the initiative of the Greek government.

In his speech Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos underlined that tourism can contribute effectively to overturn the crisis that is plaguing the E.U.

“European tourism coincides with the standard of living and therefore the E.U. should show its support,” the minister said.

Mr. Markopoulos underlined that in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty tourism generates investments, employment opportunities and exercises a positive effect on other aspects of economic development such as transport, trade (small enterprises) and services.

The minister stressed that the tourism industry should have its place in the agenda of the E.U. council meetings and he presented a series of Greek proposals such as the institutionalization of economic aid for tourism businesses. He also proposed the creation of a special budget for social tourism in the EU.

At a separate event the tourism minister said that incoming tourism to Greece would depend on last minute bookings of tourists that have not decided on their holidays due to the economic crisis and the uncertainty that prevails.

While speaking at an Economist conference, the minister stressed that (at this period of time) it is impossible to predict a steady course for Greek tourism as well as the exact number of tourists that would visit.

However, the tourism minister underlined that earlier predictions that warned of “catastrophes” in Greek tourism, have no basis.

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