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Tour Bus Profession Opens, KTEL Bus Profession Stays Closed

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos sparked an angry reaction from tourism professionals recently when he signed a ministerial decision in November, which liberalized the tour bus profession so licenses would be easier obtained while the profession of KTEL intercity buses remains “closed.”

According to the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) and the General Pan-Hellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises (GEPOET) the opening of the transport profession has remained “onesided” since transfer restrictions in favor of the KTEL buses continue to exist.

In an official letter to the relevant parties, including Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, GEPOET said the relevant ministers preferred not to “tamper” with the KTEL buses in fear of demonstrations of the bus drivers.

According to press reports, Mr. Yeroulanos’ decision secures the “closed profession” of the KTEL buses that are permitted to carry out excursions, while tour buses face restrictions in regards to public transport.

GEPOET requested a meeting with Transport Minister Makis Voridis and warned the tour bus sector would consider mobilizations if the matter is not seen to.

On it part, HATTA wondered if the Culture and Tourism Ministry had intentions to degrade the importance of tour buses for Greek tourism and lead Greek tourism agencies to extinction as it made a decision “without taking into account the views of the sector.”

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