By Maria Paravantes
Key infrastructure, including the completion of the so-called north road axis, the airport at Kastelli and peripheral roadway networks are the top priorities for authorities on Crete, said the region’s governor Stavros Arnaoutakis, during the 3rd Regional Conference on the Reconstruction of Production, which came to a close on Thursday with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras‘ address on development.
Arnaoutakis underlined that the construction of the north road axis with European Investment Bank funding is Crete region’s top development priority. “It is a project that will unite the island from one end to the other, from Kissamos to Sitia,” he said.
The regional governor pointed to Crete’s great potential for growth, highlighting the progress made in the areas of tourism and the primary sector, the environment, energy, modernization of infrastructure, research-innovation.
Arnaoutakis made particular mention of tourism, which he said has been a pillar of the local economy and outlined the region’s aims to extend the tourist season through the development of alternative forms of tourism. He said the region was working hand in hand wth the tourism ministry towards the development of health and wellness, golf, conference, cultural, sports and adventure tourism offerings as well as agri-tourism. Among the priorities is the promotion of lesser-known destinations on the island as well as of Crete’s cultural and gastronomic wealth.
Diversifying however requires the modernization of infrastructure and upgrading the internationally famed model of “sea and sun” thus ensuring competitiveness, he added.
PM Backs Environmentally-friendly Entrepreneurship
Visiting Crete to conclude the proceedings of the conference, PM Tsipras said “the aim is to restore a decent standard of living for employees and to ensure the provision of satisfactory welfare services… which means growth that ensures benefits are evenly distributed in society”.
The prime minister added that he supports entrepreneurship that respects the environment.
“Fair tourism development and investment means a substantial improvement in working conditions… it means jobs”.
Tsipras went on to add that his government supports and encourages healthy entrepreneurship and investors who come with the aim to support the country, its people and their values.
The Greek prime minister also said brining together the agricultural sector with tourism would generate substantial gains and that the development ministry’s Agrifood – Industry – Tourism forum was working in this direction, leading in turn to improved quality products, which are standardized and certified and ready for export.
Less Talk, More Actions says Think-tank
Meanwhile, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in its weekly bulletin assessing the PM’s and the opposition’s stance on the economy and investment, is pointing to the failure of both parties to see the real picture.
SEV questions whether state intervention can foster investment activity that will in turn create new jobs, as supported by the PM, and whether reducing taxation to create a friendlier investment environment – as maintained by opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis – is actually viable in view of the country’s agreement with its international lenders.