ECONOMY

In Brief

Not all is gloomy on the tourism front Greece, Cyprus and Portugal would stand to gain in the preferences of French tourists in the event of a war in Iraq while Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco would lose, according to a poll by tour operators in France, reported at the Salon Mondial du Tourisme in Paris which opened yesterday and will last until Sunday. Data from Nouvelles Frontieres, Jet Tours and Iliadis indicate a 3 percent rise in bookings for Greek destinations. Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos said in Canberra he received assurances from the Australian government that it will work to persuade Australian airlines to start direct flights to and from Greece, after Olympic Airways’ suspension last autumn. Georgakopoulos said Australian tour operators held the view that this would boost the flow of tourism to Greece. Greek tourism officials in Australia said they expect a 8-10 percent rise in the number of visitors to Greece this year. INKA and HATTA caution against ‘vague’ promises of Travel Card The Consumers Institute (INKA) and the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (HATTA) yesterday cautioned the public against offers made through the «Travel Card,» recently launched by Media and Travel Group. INKA said the Travel Card’s promise of «accommodation in selected Greek hotels by paying for breakfast» is false and misleading, easily deduced if one refers to the small print. It also noted that the card is sold without giving consumers prior information regarding terms, hotels or other services, and that neither the web address quoted on the packaging is active nor has the relevant contact for its use been signed. HATTA said the terms under which the card was granted were full of vague references, and that it would examine them for any breach of the law. Travel Card said in reply the average cost per user with breakfast was 12.50 euros a night (until July 15) and insisted it offered cheap and quality holidays. Prospective buyers may call 801.11.000.50. Fur trade The Kastoria Furriers Association called for government help in rescheduling traders’ social security contributions and bank loans, including a three-year freeze in loan repayments and subsidization of interest rates with repayment over seven years. It also called for financial help to upgrade the town’s annual international fur exhibition which opened yesterday. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who greeted the event, said, «Furriers have to revise any past negative practices and move with a modern spirit in the new era.» The event, lasting until March 10, hosts 60 exhibitors from Greece, Italy, Canada, the UK, France and Poland. World Bank The fourth convention of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank (PNoWB), an independent body aiming to promote the fight against poverty, is taking place at the Astir Palace Hotel, Vouliagmeni, on Sunday and March 10. The event will be attended by senior officials, including the bank’s president, James Wolfenson, IMF Managing Director Horst Koehler and 150 representatives of development aid donor and recipient countries. ELBO The Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) reported a jump in 2002 net profit to 8.7 million euros from 2.2 million in 2001, despite a 14 percent fall in turnover to 123.6 million. The firm expects defense orders to boost turnover in 2003 and 2004.