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Apostolos Ventouris

Apostolos Ventouris, Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships PresidentFmr President,
Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships

PHILOXENIA 2011 greeting.

Today, the main issue that concerns islanders, travelers, tourists, those who live off tourism, professions related to shipping and especially our industry is whether passenger shipping will see the end of entrepreneurship and therefore the end of the country’s sea transport by the end of 2011.

For many years we have recorded the problems of passenger shipping, especially coastal shipping, and submitted specific proposals based on academic and detailed economic studies aimed to solve problems.

We never received a counter-argument; everyone recognized the problems of the industry, all except the current heads of the former “Ministry of Mercantile Marine,” who prefer to maintain an unclear system of state intervention through apathy that kills shipping enterprises.

We are the only sector that insists on the liberalization of the industry’s entrepreneurship and they stubbornly deny us this and impose it on other industries where the respective professionals deny it!

Is this by chance?

Today more than ever we believe that it is time for the State to take action. Otherwise it will be too late and Greek taxpayers will be asked to pay some 1.5 billion euros out of their pocket annually if we go bankrupt as an industry, so they can have what for many years they have been enjoying practically for free: our shipping transport.

For the third consecutive year, shipping recorded losses over 330 million euros.

In closing, I would like to wish “business survival” to all visitors and exhibitors of Philoxenia 2011 as well as an exit from the financial crisis and emerge as winners in the battle against the threat of bankruptcy.

A threat of bankruptcy of financial data, ideas, commerce, offered services, tourism and passenger shipping transport. A bankruptcy that I hope will never visit any of our workplaces.

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