The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) recently wrapped up a scheduled visit to Europe’s decision-making center, Brussels, where it went to highlight the significance of tourism for Greece.
The SETE delegation, headed by the confederation’s president, Yiannis Retsos, held a series of meetings with European Commissioners, directly or indirectly involved in tourism, to inform them on the positive impact that the sector has on the Greek economy and society.
“Our meetings in Brussels aimed to strengthen the voice of Greek tourism.” – SETE
SETE’s agenda in Brussels
Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
Ways to facilitate access to funds for Greek tourism businesses and abolish obstacles such as over-taxation and bureaucracy, were the main topics of discussion between SETE’s delegation and commissioner Jyrki Katainen. According to SETE, aware of the role that tourism plays in Greece’s development, the commissioner suggested to strike a cooperation in order to make better use of the funds of the Juncker funding program, especially for the tourism sector.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability
SETE’s agenda in Brussels continued with a meeting with commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, during which SETE’s president stressed that high interest rates of loans and limited access to funds must be tackled in combination with the issue of over-taxation, in order to boost the competitiveness of the country’s tourism sector. On his part, the commissioner said that a viable and fair solution for non-performing loans was essential and urged for sector professionals to make use of investment funds.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
While discussing with commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, SETE was requested to contribute to the launch of a platform for dialogue on tourism issues in Europe. According to Bieńkowska, that should be the role of Greek tourism from now on.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
With commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, the SETE delegation discussed the significant contribution of the tourism sector throughout the crisis to both Greece’s economy and society. Also, it was agreed that “the voice of tourism” in Brussels needs further empowerment.
Christos Stylianidis, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management
Following the meeting with commissioner Christos Stylianidis, SETE said that it became clear that the conditions were ready for Greek tourism to become a “forerunner” of cooperation and development of the sector across Europe.
Margaritis Schinas, European Commission spokesman
SETE’s round of meetings at the European Commission included a discussion with spokesman, Margaritis Schinas. During the meeting, SETE said that it was confirmed that Greek tourism was the sector that supported the country during the crisis. Discussions centered on the role tourism should now play to continue to create value in Greek society.
Carlo Corazza, Deputy Head of Cabinet for External Relations, Spokesperson of President Tajani
The SETE delegation also met with Carlo Corazza, Deputy Head of Cabinet for External Relations, Spokesperson of President Tajani and discussed the prospects of tourism on a European level and the role of the sector in further strengthening the economy of Europe.
SETE, Institute of SETE and Marketing Greece introduced to European Parliament
The confederation also attended a special event for Greek tourism at the European Parliament, held under the initiative of Greek MEPs Elizabeth Vozenberg and Miltos Kyrkos.
SETE President Yiannis Retsos informed a packed audience on the strength, resilience and prospects of Greek tourism, as well as the challenges impending its future.
The audience of the European Parliament was then introduced to the Institute of SETE by its general manager, Ilias Kikilias. Following the presentation, Kikilias underlined that the Institute contributes effectively in documenting the significance of tourism for the Greek economy and society, boosts the knowledge and skills of the sector’s human resources and supports the improvement of the sector’s quality.
On her part, Ioanna Dretta, CEO of Marketing Greece, presented SETE’s private marketing company for Greek tourism. Following her presentation, Dretta referred to the fact that the private sector gradually and steadily builds the “new face of Greek tourism”: the image of a modern, dynamic, European Greece that can overcome any difficulties it faces.
“SETE has completed its first round of actions at the European Commission and in the European Parliament. Our meetings in Brussels aimed to strengthen the voice of Greek tourism,” the confederation said in an announcement.
Members of SETE’s Board of Directors that participated in the delegation to Brussels, included the confederation’s vice presidents Eftichis Vassilakis, Kostas Konstantinidis, Panagiotis Tokouzis; secretary general, George Vernicos; deputy secretary general Kallinikos Kallinikos; and members Emmanuel Giannoulis, Maria Theofanopoulou, Agapi Sbokou and Andreas Stylianopoulos. SETE’s general manager, George Amvrazis also attended.